Tamil author Perumal Murugan makes International Booker Prize 2023 longlist

Thirteen novels translated into English are nominated, with several firsts featured

Tamil author Perumal Murugan. Photo: Satheeratnam V
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A searing novel about a South Indian couple whose love is tested by the caste system is one of 13 works longlisted for the prestigious International Booker Prize 2023.

Pyre, written by Perumal Murugan and translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, is the first time a book originally written in Tamil has been nominated for the £50,000 ($63,000) prize.

The longlist, announced on Tuesday, also includes the first nominations for books originally written in Bulgarian and Catalan. Titles from 12 countries are featured, including a South Korean fairytale, French horror, Caribbean gospel and a Scandinavian saga.

The International Booker Prize is awarded every year to a translated work of fiction published in the UK or Ireland. It is run alongside the Booker Prize for English-language fiction.

A shortlist of six books will be announced on April 18, while the winning title will be announced at a ceremony at the Sky Garden in London on May 23.

This year's judging panel is led by celebrated French-Moroccan novelist Leila Slimani. She will be joined by Uilleam Blacker, one of Britain’s leading literary translators from Ukraine; Tan Twan Eng, the Booker-shortlisted Malaysian novelist; Parul Sehgal, staff writer and critic at The New Yorker; and Frederick Studemann, Literary Editor of the Financial Times.

Geetanjali Shree and American translator Daisy Rockwell won the prize last year for Tomb of Sand, a vibrant novel with a boundary-crossing, 80-year-old heroine.

Originally written in Hindi, it was the first book in any Indian language to win the high-profile award.

Below is the longlist for the International Booker Prize 2023:

  • Ninth Building by Zou Jingzhi. Translated by Jeremy Tiang
  • A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding by Amanda Svensson. Translated by Nichola Smalley
  • Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel. Translated by Rosalind Harvey
  • Pyre by Perumal Murugan. Translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan
  • While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer. Translated by Katy Derbyshire
  • The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier. Translated by Daniel Levin Becker
  • Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv by Andrey Kurkov. Translated by Reuben Woolley
  • Is Mother Dead by Vigdis Hjorth. Translated by Charlotte Barslund
  • Standing Heavy by GauZ'. Translated by Frank Wynne
  • Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov. Translated by Angela Rodel
  • The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Conde. Translated by Richard Philcox
  • Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan. Translated by Chi-Young Kim
  • Boulder by Eva Baltasar. Translated by Julia Sanches
Updated: March 14, 2023, 1:34 PM