Here we have half a month to go before the Japanese Literature Challenge 16 officially ends, and I find myself peeking eagerly into the realm of the International Booker Prize for 2023. The Shadow Jury is assembled again, prepared to read the longlist which is revealed on March 14 and to determine which books we would choose to be on the shortlist (revealed on April 18).
Before I introduce the Shadow Jury, let me give you six predictions I have for the official longlist:
Aliss at the Fire by Jon Fosse (translated by Damion Searls)
Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi (translated by David Boyd and Lucy North)
Lady Joker, Volume 2 (by Kaoru Takamura (translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida)
Animal Life by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (translated by Brian FitzGibbon)
Eastbound by Maylis de Kerangal (translated by Jessica Moore)
All The Lovers In The Night by Mieko Kawakami (translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd)
Perhaps it is no surprise to you that three of the six are Japanese. And now, for the Shadow Jury. They are as follows:
Tony Malone (Twitter: @tony_malone) is an occasional ESL teacher and full-time reader who has been publishing his half-baked thoughts on literature in translation at the Tony’s Reading List blog for just over fourteen years now. One unexpected consequence of all this reading in translation has been the crafting of a few translations of his own, with English versions of works by classic German writers such as Eduard von Keyserling and Ricarda Huch appearing at his site. As always, he’s looking forward to seeing what the judges have selected, and then rolling his eyes at them…
Meredith Smith (Twitter: @bellezzamjs) has been writing about books at her site, Dolce Bellezza, since 2006. Now that she has retired from teaching, she has much more time to devote to her passion of reading translated literature. She has hosted the Japanese Literature Challenge for sixteen years and been a member of the Shadow Jury for nine. It is her great joy to read and discuss books from around the world with both the panel and fellow readers.
David Hebblethwaite (@David_Heb) is a reader and reviewer originally from Yorkshire, UK. He started reading translated fiction seriously a few years ago, and now couldn’t imagine a bookish life without it. He writes about books at David’s Book World, and is also on Goodreads, and Instagram @davidsworldofbooks. This is his tenth year on the Shadow Jury, and it has become a highlight of his reading year. There are always interesting books to read, and illuminating discussions to be had.
Oisin Harris (@literaryty), based in Canterbury in the UK, reviews books at the Literaryty blog. He earned an English degree from Sussex University and an MA in Publishing from Kingston University. He is a librarian at the University of Kent and a co-editor and contributor for The Publishing Post’s Books in Translation Team, as well as the creator of the Translator Spotlight series where prominent translators are interviewed to demystify the craft of translation. His work on Women in Translation was published in the 2020 research eBook of the Institute for Translation and Interpreting, entitled Translating Women: Activism in Action (edited by Olga Castro and Helen Vassallo).
Frances Evangelista (@nonsuchbook) works as an educator in Washington DC. She elected a career in teaching because she assumed it would provide her with lots of reading time. This was an incorrect assumption. However, she loves her work and still manages to read widely, remember the years she blogged about books fondly, chat up books on Twitter, and participate in lots of great shared reading experiences. This is her fifth year as a shadow panelist for the International Booker Prize.
Vivek Tejuja (@vivekisms) is a book blogger and reviewer from India, based in Mumbai. He loves to read books in Indian languages and translated editions of languages around the world (well, essentially world fiction, if that’s a thing). He is Culture Editor at Verve Magazine and blogs at The Hungry Reader. He is also the author of So Now You Know, a memoir of growing up gay in Mumbai in the 90s, published by Harper Collins India. His second book, Strange Bedfellows is out in September 2023, by Harper Collins India.
Areeb Ahmad (@Broke_Bookworm) currently works in the social and development sector. He moonlights as Books Editor at Inklette and Editor-at-Large for India at Asymptote. Although he is an eclectic bookworm, he swears by all things SFF. He goes out of his way to consume queer literatures, experimental writing, translated books, and contemporary poetry collections. You can find him either desperately hunting for book deals to supplement his overflowing TBR pile or trying to figure out the best angle for his next #bookstagram photo as he scrambles to write reviews. He impulsively began book blogging in 2019 and hasn’t looked back since.
Paul Fulcher (@fulcherpaul) is a Wimbledon, UK based fan of translated fiction, who is active on Goodreads, where he contributes to a MBI readers’ group. He is a Trustee of the Republic of Consciousness Foundation, which runs the Republic of Consciousness Prize (@prizeRofC), which rewards innovative fiction, including in translation, from small independent presses. His reviews can be found on his Goodreads page.
Jeremy Koenig (@KoenigRMHS) is a high school English teacher outside Washington DC. Over the years, he’s become a fierce champion of translated literature and small presses, both making up the bulk of his Best of the Year lists. His reading life has been greatly enriched by the other members of this shadow panel, to whom he’s deeply grateful. He’s also a current student of Norwegian who aspires to reading Jon Fosse’s work in the original (“på Norsk”). This is his first year as a shadow panelist.
Do follow along as we read, and review, the books for the International Booker Prize 2023. We promise to highlight the very best. At least, in our opinion.