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Marieke Lucas Rijneveld becomes youngest International Booker Prize winner

The Discomfort Of Evening saw off competition from books including Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police and Daniel Kehlmann’s Tyll.

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The International Booker Prize (Booker Prizes/PA)

The International Booker Prize (Booker Prizes/PA)

The International Booker Prize (Booker Prizes/PA)

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has become the youngest author to win the International Booker Prize.

The 29-year-old Dutch writer was named the winner of the £50,000 prize on Wednesday, alongside Michele Hutchison, who translated The Discomfort Of Evening into English.

The book beat works including including Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police, Daniel Kehlmann’s Tyll and Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor.

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Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Booker Prizes/PA)

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Booker Prizes/PA)

PA

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Booker Prizes/PA)

Ted Hodgkinson, chairman of the judges, said: “We set ourselves an immense task in selecting a winner from our superb shortlist, filled with fiction bold enough to upend mythic foundations and burst the banks of the novel itself.

“From this exceptional field, and against an extraordinary backdrop, we were looking for a book that goes beyond echoing our dystopian present and possesses a timeless charge.

“Combining a disarming new sensibility with a translation of singular sensitivity, The Discomfort Of Evening is a tender and visceral evocation of a childhood caught between shame and salvation, and a deeply deserving winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize.”

The Discomfort Of Evening tells the story of Jas and her farming family’s life in a strict Christian community as they become stricken with grief following the death of her brother.

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Michele Hutchison (Booker Prizes/PA)

Michele Hutchison (Booker Prizes/PA)

PA

Michele Hutchison (Booker Prizes/PA)

A statement from the judges said: “Rijneveld’s language renders the world anew, revealing the shocks and violence of early youth through the prism of a Dutch dairy farm. The strangeness of a child looking at the strangeness of the world.”

The Adventures Of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezon Camara and Shokoofeh Azar’s The Enlightenment Of The Greengage Tree were also nominated for the prize.

The International Booker Prize is awarded annually to the best single work of fiction translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

The £50,000 prize is split equally between the author and the translator.

The 2019 winner was Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi.

PA