Entertainment & Arts

Independent Foreign Fiction prize reveals 2015 shortlist

Haruki Murakami Image copyright AP
Image caption Bestselling Japanese author Haruki Murakami is well known to many English readers

Japanese author Haruki Murakami has been shortlisted for 2015's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, as well as first-time translations from Colombia and Equatorial Guinea.

Murakami's book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage sold one million copies in one day in Japan.

Bestselling authors from Germany and Belgium are also up for the prize.

Dissident Juan Tomas Avila Laurel has been described as Equatorial Guinea's "most important living writer".

His novel By Night the Mountain Burns is only the second work from Africa's only Spanish-speaking country to be translated into English.

The Los Angeles Review of Books reported last year that the 48-year-old had been forced into hiding after protesting against the country's dictatorial regime.

Neither he nor Colombian Tomas Gonzalez - shortlisted for In the Beginning Was the Sea - have been translated into English before.

The prize's 25th anniversary shortlist also features Erwin Mortier from Belgium, whose book While the Gods Were Sleeping was translated from Dutch.

Two celebrated German authors are also shortlisted, Jenny Erpenbeck for The End of Days and Daniel Kehlmann for his novel F.

Both those authors and Murakami have been shortlisted for the prize before, as have their respective translators.

"Books play an increasingly important role in our understanding of the world around us," said The Book Trust's Claire Shanahan, who chaired the judges.

"This shortlist encapsulates the excitement of looking outwards and discovering new and different voices."

The 2014 prize was won by Iraqi writer Hassan Blasim and translator Jonathan Wright for The Iraqi Christ. This year's winner will be announced at a special ceremony at RIBA in London on 27 May.

This year's shortlist:

  • By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomas Avila Laurel, translated from the Spanish by Jethro Soutar
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky
  • F by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway
  • In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomas Gonzalez, translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne
  • While the Gods Were Sleeping by Erwin Mortier translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent

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