The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
Launched by the Independent newspaper in 1990, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is the only major British literary award devoted to fiction in translation. The winner is announced in May, preceded by a shortlist of six books and a longlist of around twelve. The judging panel is made up of five leading figures in the literary world, chaired by the Literary Editor of the Independent, Boyd Tonkin.
The prize money of £10,000 is split equally between the author and their translator into English. In 1995, this meant the prize money went to one family, when Michael Hoffman's translation from German of The Film Explainer, written by his father, Gert, was declared the winner. So far, the only winner translated from a non-European language is The Sorrow of War, Bao Ninh's semi-autobiographical account of life during and after the Vietnam War.
The Prize was put in abeyance between 1996 and 2001, but financial support from the Arts Council saw it revived in 2002. That year, the award was, for the only time so far, made posthumously, to W G Sebald for Austerlitz. For many British readers, this was their first introduction to a writer who had been widely tipped for a Nobel Prize before his death. Two winners have, however, subsequently been made Nobel Laureates: 1993's winner, José Saramago and the inaugural winner, Orhan Pamuk.
The 2013 winner was The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer.
Judge and literary editor of the Independent, Boyd Tonkin said of the winner:, 'Swift-moving and apparently straightforward, but with mysterious hidden depths, The Detour is a novel that grips its reader tight and never lets go. Gerbrand Bakker's tale of a Dutchwoman who goes missing from her own troubled life and seeks refuge in rural Wales combines mesmeric storytelling with an uncanny sense of place, and an atmosphere of brooding, irresistible menace. In David Colmer's pitch-perfect and immersive translation, this book will both linger in your imagination and, quite possibly, haunt your dreams as well.'
The judges also gave a special mention as a close contender to Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman, translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia.
Chris Barnard; Michiel Heyns
Gerbrand Bakker; David Colmer
Enrique Vila-Matas; Rosalind Harvey;...
Ismail Kadare; John Hodgson
Andres Neuman; Nick Caistor; Lorenza...
Dasa Drndic; Ellen Elias-Bursac
2012: Blooms of Darkness by Aharon Appelfeld (Hebrew)
2011: Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo (Spanish)
2010: Brodeck's Report by Philippe Claudel; trans. John Cullen (French)
2009: The Armies - Evelio Rosero; trans. Anne McLean (Spanish)
2008: Omega Minor - Paul Verhaegen; trans. (Dutch)
2007: The Book of Chameleons - José Eduardo Agualusa: trans. Daniel Hahn (Portuguese)
2006: Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson; trans. Anne Born (Norwegian)
2005: Windows on the World - Frédéric Beigbeder; trans. Frank Wynne (French)
2004: Soldiers of Salamis - Javier Cercas; trans. Anne McLean (Spanish)
2003: The Visit of the Royal Physician - Per Olov Enquist; trans. Tiina Nunnally (Swedish)
2002: Austerlitz - W G Sebald; trans Anthea Bell (German)
1996-2001: No award
1995: The Film Explainer - Gert Hoffman; trans. Michael Hofman (German)
1994: The Sorrow of War - Bao Ninh; trans. Phanh Thanh Hao (Vietnamese)
1993: The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis - José Saramago; trans. Giovanni Pontiero (Portuguese)
1992: The Death of Napoleon - Simon Leys; trans. Patricia Clancy (French)
1991: Immortality - Milan Kundera; trans. Peter Kussi (Czech)
1990: The White Castle - Orhan Pamuk; trans. Victoria Holbrook (Turkish)