The Booker International prize for the year was awarded to The Discomfort of Evening written by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison. Honouring the best translated work of fiction published in UK and Ireland, this year’s event was a virtual celebration hosted by BBC’s Razia Iqbal which included readings from the shortlisted novels and the comments from the judges.
Twenty-nine year old Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, became the youngest author ever to win the International Booker. The novel follows the life of Jas, a girl in a devout Christian farming family, whose brother dies in an accident after she wishes he would die instead of her rabbit. Lost in grief, her family falls apart as she becomes involved in increasingly dangerous fantasies. The judging panel chaired by Ted Hodgkinson quoted that the novel was “visceral and virtuostic”.
This year’s panel consisted of Lucie Campos, director of the Villa Gillet, France’s centre for international writing; Jennifer Croft, who previously won the prize in 2018 for her translation of Olga Tokarczuk’s novel Flights; author Valeria Luiselli; and writer, poet and musician Jeet Thayil.
The award money of £50,000 is divided between the author and the translator. In 2019, this was awarded to Jokha Alharthi for Celestial Bodies, translated by Marilyn Booth.