José Eduardo Agualusa

José Eduardo Agualusa

Angola’s José Eduardo Agualusa is one of the six writers on the just announced make Man Booker International 2016 shortlist. Agualusa who is the first Angolan to make the list is there for his book A General Theory of Oblivion which was translated from the Portuguese to English by Daniel Hahn.

The Man Booker International Prize is one of the richest prizes in world literature with a focus on an book in English. Each shortlisted author and translator receives £1,000, while the £50,000 prize is divided equally between the author and the translator of the winning entry. Last year the winner of the prize was Jamaican Marlon James for his awesome book A Brief History Of Killing. Some previous winners of the prize first awarded in 2005 are Chinua Achebe, Philip Roth and Nobel Prize for Literature winner Alice Munro.

For the first time, the Man Booker International Prize will be on the basis of a single book, after having joined forces with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize last year. The prize is sponsored by Man Group, one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest in contemporary literature.

This isn’t the first time this writer has been in the running for a major prize; he was the first African to win the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007 for this book The Book of Chameleons. He was also awarded the Portuguese Grand Prize for Literature for his book Creole.

This newer book tells tale of Angolan Ludo which is a sort of African variation of the Sleeping beauty fairy tale we all grew to love with those lady bird books.

The full list of authors who made it past the long list phase and now are in the running for the prize are;

 Title (imprint) Author (nationality) Translator (nationality)

  • A General Theory of Oblivion (Harvill Secker), José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola), Daniel Hahn (UK)
  • The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions), Elena Ferrante (Italy), Ann Goldstein (USA)
  • The Vegetarian (Portobello Books), Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith (UK)
  • A Strangeness in My Mind (Faber & Faber), Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), Ekin Oklap (Turkey)
  • A Whole Life (Picador), Robert Seethaler (Austria), Charlotte Collins (UK)
  • The Four Books (Chatto & Windus), Yan Lianke  (China), Carlos Rojas (USA)

The list was selected from 155 books by a panel of five judges consisting of: critic and editor Boyd Tonkin; anthropologist and novelist Tahmima Anam; academic David Bellos, Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University; editor and academic Daniel Medin, who holds a comparative literature professorship at the American University of Paris (AUP); and prize-winning British poet and author Ruth Padel.

The winner of the 2016 Prize will be announced on 16 May at a formal dinner at the V & A, with the £50,000 prize being divided equally between the author and the translator of the winning entry.