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Four countries represented on international book prize shortlist for first time

Published 14/04/2016

The six shortlisted books, written in six languages, were whittled down from 155 entries
The six shortlisted books, written in six languages, were whittled down from 155 entries

Four countries have been represented for the first time as the diverse shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize 2016 was announced.

Angolan author Jose Eduardo Agualusa's A General Theory of Oblivion, Austrian Robert Seethaler's A Whole Life, Turkish Orhan Pamuk's A Strangeness in My Mind and South Korean writer Han Kang's The Vegetarian are among the six shortlisted books in six languages, whittled down from 155 entries.

In addition to pseudonymous Italian novelist Elena Ferrante's final instalment in the Neapolitan Novels series, The Story of the Lost Child, five of the authors have been nominated for the first time, while Chinese nominee Yan Lianke, shortlisted for The Four Books, also appeared on the list in 2013.

Boyd Tonkin, chair of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize judging panel, said: " This exhilarating shortlist will take readers both around the globe and to every frontier of fiction.

"In first-class translations that showcase that unique and precious art, these six books tell unforgettable stories from China and Angola, Austria and Turkey, Italy and South Korea.

"In setting, they range from a Mao-era re-education camp and a remote Alpine valley to the modern tumult and transformation of cities such as Naples and Istanbul.

"In form, the titles stretch from a delicate mosaic of linked lives in post-colonial Africa to a mesmerising fable of domestic abuse and revolt in booming east Asia.

"Our selection shows that the finest books in translation extend the boundaries not just of our world - but of the art of fiction itself.

"We hope that readers everywhere will share our pleasure and excitement in this shortlist."

Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000, while the £50,000 prize will be divided equally between the author and the translator of the winning entry.

One of those translators includes 28-year-old Deborah Smith who only started learning Korean at the age of 21, while the youngest is Turkish-born Londoner Ekin Oklap at just 27.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on May 16 at the V&A Museum in London.

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