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International Booker Prize winner announcement postponed

Book distribution has been severely disrupted due to Covid-19.


The shortlisted books for the International Booker (International Booker/PA)

The shortlisted books for the International Booker (International Booker/PA)

The shortlisted books for the International Booker (International Booker/PA)

The announcement unveiling the winner of the International Booker Prize has been postponed because of severe disruption to the books market.

The shortlist for the £50,000 prize was unveiled digitally – as a result of coronavirus restrictions – earlier this month.

But it has been difficult for readers to get their hands on the books in the running for the prize, which celebrates the best translated fiction from around the world.

The winner will not be announced on the planned date of May 19, said Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation.

“After careful consideration, we’ve decided on this course of action to ensure that the shortlist, and ultimately the winner, can be celebrated at a time when readership of these exceptional novels is made easier for everyone,” she said.

“As the world begins to recover, their contents will be found all the more rewarding for being, in effect, a form of travel.”

The six shortlisted books explore “trauma, loss and sweeping illness” and include a novel, Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, comprising just eight paragraphs.

Three of the novels – The Enlightenment Of The Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar, The Adventures Of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezon Camara and Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann – have been inspired by their nations’ histories.

Hurricane Season, The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa and The Discomfort Of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld touch on how “trauma, whether through violent acts or emotional loss, shape our experiences and approach to the world”.

The prize runs alongside the Booker Prize, which is awarded to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.

The Booker Prize Foundation said a new date will be announced as soon as possible.