Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 28, 2020

Australian Shokoofeh Azar on the 2020 International Booker Prize longlist

This post is shamelessly copied from the Press Release because my eyesight is a-hem ‘compromised’ at the moment (24 hours after eye surgery) but I just had to make the effort because Australian-Iranian author Shokoofeh Azar’s The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree has been longlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize longlist.  Please note that while the publisher in the longlist is named Europa Editions, it was in fact first published by Wild Dingo Press here in Australia, and I reviewed it in 2017.


Today we announce The 2020 International Booker Prize longlist. This year the judges considered 124 books and have whittled it down to their ‘International Booker Dozen’.

The 2020 International Booker Prize longlist is:

  • Red Dog by Willem Anker, translated by Michiel Heyns. Pushkin Press.
  • The Enlightenment of The Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar, translated anonymously. Europa Editions, see my review.
  • The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh. Charco Press.
  • The Other Name: Septology I – II by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls. Fitzcarraldo Editions.
  • The Eighth Life by Nino Haratiscvili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin. Scribe UK. see my review
  • Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Shaun Whiteside. William Heinemann.
  • Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Ross Benjamin. Quercus.
  • Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes. Fitzcarraldo Editions.
  • The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder. Harvill Secker.
  • Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano, translated by Sophie Lewis and Jennifer Higgins. Peirene Press.
  • Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell. Oneworld.
  • The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchinson. Faber & Faber.
  • Mac and His Problem by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Sophie Hughes. Harvill Secker.

The works selected are translated from eight languages and originate in Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia. They explore diverse topics, including grief, dystopias, rural life, and the histories of their countries. Samanta Schweblin, author of longlisted Little Eyes, has previously been longlisted for Mouthful of Birds and shortlisted for Fever Dream. Previously shortlisted translator Sophie Hughes appears on the list twice, as the translator of Hurricane Season and co-translator of Mac and His Problem.

The longlist was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre. The panel also includes: Lucie Campos, director of the Villa Gillet, France’s centre for international writing; Man Booker International Prize-winning translator and writer Jennifer Croft; LA Times Book Prize for Fiction-winning author Valeria Luiselli and writer, poet and musician Jeet Thayil, whose novel Narcopolis was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2012.

Every year, we award a single book that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. We aim to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction from all over the world and to promote the work of translators. Both novels and short-story collections are eligible. The contribution of both author and translator is given equal recognition, with the £50,000 prize split between them. Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000, bringing the total value of the prize to £62,000.

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