IFFP Readers Prize

English PEN, together with the Reading Agency and the British Centre for Literary Translation, are partnering with Booktrust to give 300 Readers the chance to shadow this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The project is funded by the Free Word Strategic Commissioning Fund and the NALD Futures Fund

We are working with a group of readers from the Reading Agency’s Reading Groups for Everyone scheme to focus on engagement with world literature. Readers will gather together at the Free Word Centre on 18 May to vote on their favourite shortlisted title, crowned the Independent Foreign Fiction Readers’ Prize (IFFRP) winner and will also enjoy a programme of activities on the day, including a translation duel with shortlisted translators Rosalind Harvey and Lorenza Garcia and a talk from IFFP judge and author Elif Shafak.

The Project will generate research into barriers to readers’ engagement with translated literature which will inform our Writers in Translation work, and build on various collaborative ventures, such as International Translation Day and the Literary Translation Centre at London Book Fair. Readers will be encouraged to analyse their own reading habits and perceptions throughout the project.

You can find out more about the reading groups involved and read reviews of the shortlisted titles on the Reading Agency website and Meet the IFFP reading groups here and here.

You can also download a readers guide to steer your reading of the IFFP 2013 shortlisted titles.

About the IFFP shortlist

Lust in translation – a steamy tale of love between two translators makes the shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman joins five other stories competing for the £10,000 Prize

Andrés Neuman adds some fire to this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shortlist with his epic novel Traveller of the Century, which explores an affair between the hearts, minds and bodies of two literary translators. Together they build a language of understanding as they work to translate European poetry, whilst continuing a secret sexual relationship, leading them to ask if translation itself is an act of love. The full shortlist sees diverse themes of history, war and love battling it out for the £10,000 Prize, to be announced on 20 May.

The prestigious shortlist features authors from Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, Argentina, Croatia and from Albania, the winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize, Ismail Kadare. Both Kadare’s story The Fall of the Stone City and Croatian author Daša Drndić’s Trieste, explore the tension and horror of Nazi encounters and their after-effects. Meanwhile love is questioned in Dutch story The Detour, by Gerbrand Bakker, which follows an unfaithful wife who has exiled herself to an isolated farm in Wales, leaving her husband to hire a private detective to trace her. Also on the shortlist is a story of the people and animals of Africa, and the limitations they share in Chris Barnard’s Bundu. Completing the line-up, Dublinesque sees a Spanish publisher travel to Dublin to hold a funeral for the age of print and honour James Joyce on Bloomsday. Penned by Enrique Vila-Matas, Dublinesque was translated by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean, who has won the IFFP twice previously.

Download your copy of the IFFP booklet.

Six titles have been shortlisted for the 2013 Prize, worth £10,000, which is split between the author and translator equally. They are:

  • Bundu by Chris Barnard, translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns (Alma Books)
  •  The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer (Harvill Secker)
  •  Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean (Harvill Secker)
  •  The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare, translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson (Canongate)
  •  Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia (Pushkin Press)
  •  Trieste by Daša Drndić, translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursać (Maclehose Press)


The Detour

Dublinesque Cover








Traveller of the Century







The judges for this year’s Prize are:

  • Jean Boase-Beier, Professor of Literature and Translation at the University of East Anglia
  • Novelist and former Lecturer in English at the University of Sussex, Gabriel Josipovici
  • Elif Shafak, an award-winning novelist and the most widely read woman writer in Turkey
  • Literary translator, Frank Wynne
  • Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor of the Independent

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is awarded annually to the best work of contemporary fiction in translation. The Prize celebrates an exceptional work of fiction by a living author which has been translated into English from any other language and published in the United Kingdom in 2012. Uniquely, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize acknowledges both the writer and the translator equally, recognising the importance of the translator in their ability to bridge the gap between languages and cultures.

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