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EBRD Literature Prize 2023: shortlist announcement

By Lucia Sconosciuto

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Mister N, The Lake, Mothers and Truckers, Invisible Woman and Other Stories, Time Shelter, According to Her, Body Kintsugi, Nights of Plague, Mondegreen and The Books of Jacob

  • EBRD Literature Prize 2023’s independent judges select shortlist of translated literary fiction
  • Ten shortlisted books from the EBRD regions announced today
  • Awards to be announced in June

An independent group of judges announced today the shortlist of the 10 best works of translated literature put forward for the EBRD Literature Prize 2023.  

This unique international prize, established in 2017 by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), awards both authors from countries where the EBRD operates and their English translators. It celebrates the diversity of cultures and the rich literary expression from regions ranging from central and eastern Europe to Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the southern and eastern Mediterranean. It also celebrates the role of translators as “bridges” between cultures. 

The judges are: Toby Lichtig (Chair), Maya Jaggi, Arkady Ostrovsky and Natasha Randall

The shortlisted works, in alphabetical order by author, are: 

  • Mister N by Najwa Barakat, translated from the Arabic by Luke Leafgren (And Other Stories). Country: Lebanon 
  • The Lake by Bianca Bellová, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker (Parthian Books). Country: Czech Republic 
  • Mothers and Truckers by Ivana Dobrakovová, translated from the Slovak by Julia and Peter Sherwood (Jantar Publishing). Country: Slovak Republic 
  • Invisible Woman and Other Stories by Slavenka Drakulić, translated from the Croatian by Christina Pribichevich Zorić with Jacob Agee (Fraktura). Country: Croatia 
  • Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel. Country: Bulgaria 
  • According to Her by Maciej Hen, translated from the Polish by Anna Blasiak (Holland House Books). Country: Poland 
  • Body Kintsugi by Senka Marić, translated from the Bosnian by Celia Hawkesworth (Peirene). Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina  
  • Nights of Plague by Orhan Pamuk, translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap (Faber). Country: Türkiye 
  • Mondegreen by Volodymyr Rafeyenko, translated from the Ukrainian by Mark Andryczyk (HURI Books). Country: Ukraine 
  • The Books of Jacob by Olga Tocarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft (Fitzcarraldo Editions). Country: Poland 

Toby Lichtig said: “My fellow judges and I are delighted with this year’s shortlist, which has taken us from 18th-century Poland and communist Bratislava to contemporary Beirut and Ukraine, via a dystopian fishing village at the end of the world. We became swept up in not one but two messianic cults, were led through the corridors of medical facilities masquerading as hotels (and time capsules), and disembarked on an imaginary eastern Mediterranean island in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire. The themes include illness and war, recovery and revolution, old age and new beginnings, the clash of history and friction of domestic dramas, the jolt of political awakening and personal reckoning. This is a list to startle, delight, bewilder, hearten, amuse and entertain.” 

The EBRD Literature Prize is part of the Bank’s Community Initiative, which engages the institution and its staff in philanthropic, social and cultural activities in the regions where the EBRD operates.  

The Chair of the EBRD Community Initiative Steering Group, Edward Bannerman, said: “At a time of geopolitical divisions, cultural links are more important than ever in bringing people together. The EBRD is proud to celebrate and share the creative dynamism and literary heritage of our diverse regions.” 

The winning author and two runners-up, along with their translators, will be announced on 15 June 2023 at an award ceremony held at the EBRD’s headquarters in London. 

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