I’m a voracious reader so I’m always keen to see what’s on the Man Booker Prize for Fiction shortlist each year. This world famous literary prize is awarded for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. There have, it’s true, been some turkeys – notably James Kelman’s book How Late It Was, How Late described by judge Rabbi Julia Neuberger as ‘Not publicly accessible’ and ‘Frankly, it’s crap’. Generally though, the winners have been exciting, challenging and memorable. Think of William Golding, Penelope Fitzgerald and Ben Okri amongst many illustrious others.
Despite my love of reading I wasn’t aware — until this year — of the Man Booker International Prize. Since 2016 this award has been given annually to fiction in English translation. There is a £50,000 prize for the winning title, shared equally between author and translator. In 2018 it was won by novelist Olga Tokarczuk and her translator Jennifer Croft for Flights – a work that I have read and would urge you to do also. Tokarczuk speaks warmly of the close relationship she has with Croft.
Sales of fiction in translation were up in the UK by 5.5% last year, with sales of translated literary fiction increasing by an astonishing 20%. In France, a fifth of all books are published in translation.
Which led me to think – if you have a book inside you, whether English is your first language or not, it’s definitely worth building a relationship with a translator who understands you and what you want to say to your readers. Contact us for more information on how we can help you with translating your book to reach an international audience.