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Arab rights and the Booker Prize ‘dozen’

by | Aug 6, 2019 | News

Arabic rights in a clutch of titles listed on the Booker Prize ‘dozen’ – its famous annual shortlist of 13 novels announced in July – are still available.  They include Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier; Bernadine Evfaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other; John Lanchester’s The Wall; Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything; Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein and Max Porter’s Lanny.

Barry’s novel concerns two fading Irish gangsters waiting for the boat from Tangier in the Spanish port of Algeciras.  It is described as a novel ‘drenched in sex and death and narcotics, in sudden violence and old magic, [and] obsessed, above all, with the mysteries of love.’  Barry’s earlier novel City of Bohane is published by All Prints in Abu Dhabi.

Evfaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of 12 very different characters.  Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.  It is described as ‘joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary…a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.’

The Wall will instantly make people think of President Trump and his wall on the Mexican border.  The protagonist Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall.  The publisher (Faber) says: ‘If he’s lucky, if nothing goes wrong, he has only two years of this.  The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else.’  The novel has been sold in the following languages: Spanish (Editorial Anagrama), Dutch (Prometheus), German (Klett-Cotta), Italian (Sellerio Editore) and Romanian (Act Si Politon).

Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything follows the adventures of Saul Adler, a narcissistic, young historian who is hit by a car on London’s famous Abbey Road.  The title is currently under contract to publishers in five languages, with offers in two more.

Arabic rights also remain available in Lucy Ellmann’s challenging Ducks, Newburyport, a single sentence, stream of consciousness rant by an American woman that some people adore, others find too much to cope with.

Jeanette Winterson’s Frankisstein gives Mary Shelley’s classic tale a contemporary twist with artificial intelligence and gender fluidity both included.  Max Porter’s Lanny is set in an English village and concerns an old, tramp-like, mythological figure, who wakes and listens to the village’s stories.

Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World has been sold to her long time publisher Rana Idriss at Dar al Adab in Beiruit, Lebanon.  Arabic rights in Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer have gone to Hoda Fadl at Al Arabi in Egypt, while HBKU Press in Doha, Qatar has bought An Orchestra of Minorities, the second novel by Braithwaite’s fellow Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma.  The novel has now sold in more than ten foreign languages, including Arabic.

The Booker Prize is worth £50,000.  Sponsorship by the Man Group has finished – hence the dropping of ‘Man’ from the title – and the prize is now sponsored by the charitable foundation Crankstart.  The shortlist of six books will be announced on 3 September with the winner announced at dinner at London’s Guildhall on 14 October.

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