Six works make it to the Booker Prize 2024 shortlist

Saturday April 20 2024

The 2024 International Book Prize judges pose for picture. PHOTO | POOL


The 2024 shortlist for the International Booker Prize —the world’s most significant award for a single work of translated fiction — has been announced.

It features works from six countries, in six languages, and "interweaves the intimate and political in radically original ways."

The shortlisted books are Not a River, The Details, What I’d Rather Not Think About, Kairos, Mater 2-10, and Crooked Plow.

Not a River, originally in Spanish by Selva Almada and translated by Annie McDermott is the finest expression yet of her compelling style and singular vision of rural Argentina.

Read: Titles to look forward to in 2024

Kairos by German, Jenny Erpenbeck, and translated is an intimate and devastating story of two lovers through the ruins of a relationship, set against the backdrop of a seismic period in European history.


The Details, originally in Swedish by Ia Genberg and translated by Kira Josefsson is presented in an exhilarating, provocative prose, revealing an intimate and powerful celebration of what it means to be human.

Mater 2-10 by Korean Hwang Sok-yong is translated by Sora Kim-Russell and Youngjae Josephine Bae. It is an epic, multigenerational tale that threads together a century of Korean history.

What I’d Rather Not Think About by Dutch Jente Posthuma was translated by Australian Sarah Timmer Harvey. It is a deeply moving exploration of grief, told in brief, precise vignettes and full of gentle melancholy and humour.

Crooked Plow, originally in Portuguese by Brazilian Itamar Vieira Junior and translated by Johnny Lorenz (American) is a story about the lives of subsistence farmers in Brazil's poorest region.

The six shortlisted books have been chosen by this year’s judging panel, chaired by writer and broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel, featuring award-winning poet Natalie Diaz; Booker Prize shortlisted novelist Romesh Gunesekera; visual artist William Kentridge; and writer, editor and translator Aaron Robertson.

The shortlist was chosen from a longlist of 13 titles announced in March, which were selected from 149 books published in the UK and/or Ireland between May 1, 2023 and April 30, 2024 and submitted to the prize by publishers.

“Reading is a necessary enlargement of human experience. Why be confined to one perspective, one life? Novels carry us to places where we might never set foot and connect us with new sensations and memories. Our shortlist opens onto vast geographies of the mind, often showing lives lived against the backdrop of history or, more precisely, interweaving the intimate and the political in radically original ways,” Wachtel says.

Read: Ayobámi Adébáyo makes longlist for 2023 Booker Prize

“These books bear the weight of the past while at the same time engaging with current realities of racism and oppression, global violence and ecological disaster. Some seem altogether timeless in their careful and vivid accounts of the dynamics of family, love and heartbreak, trauma and grief.”

Four female and two male authors make up the shortlist, as well five female and two male translators.

Since 2016, when the format of the prize changed to become an annual award for a single work, there have been a third more female authors shortlisted than male authors.

The International Booker Prize celebrates the vital work of translators, with the £50,000 ($62,220) prize money divided equally between the author and the translator. In addition, the shortlisted authors and translators each receive £2,500 ($3,111).

The 2024 ceremony will take place on May 21, at London’s Tate Modern. Highlights from the event, including the announcement of the winning book for 2024, will be livestreamed on the Booker Prizes’ channels, presented by Jack Edwards.

The winner of the International Booker Prize 2023 was Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov translated by Angela Rodel.