Yan Lianke’s Great Famine novel, Han Kang’s food-themed tale on Man Booker International Prize shortlist
Asian authors vie with four others, including Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, for prestigious £50,000 award for works translated into English, with winners to be announced in May
Chinese author Yan Lianke’s The Four Books, one of the few Chinese novels to tackle the Great Famine of the 1950s and ’60s, is among six works shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker International Prize for fiction.
Also in contention for the £50,000 (HK$550,000) prize is food-themed novel The Vegetarian by South Korea’s Han Kang.
Elusive Italian author Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan tale The Story of the Lost Child and Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul-set A Strangeness in My Mind are also among the finalists for the prize.
Pamuk is one of Turkey’s best-known authors and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2006. Ferrante has topped best-seller lists around the world with her four novels of friendship and life in Naples, but her identity remains a mystery. She writes under a pseudonym and rarely gives interviews.
The other nominees are Angolan revolution saga A General Theory of Oblivion by Jose Eduardo Agualusa, and Alpine tale A Whole Life by Austria’s Robert Seethaler.
Literary critic Boyd Tonkin, who chairs the judging panel, said the six finalists “will take readers both around the globe and to every frontier of fiction”.
The award is the international counterpart to Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize and is open to books published in any language that have been translated into English.
The prize was previously a career honour, but changed this year to recognise a single work of fiction.
The prize money is divided evenly between the author and the book’s translator. The winner will be announced in London on May 16.