Two authors represented by the Pontas Agency are among the 13 novels longlisted to the Man Booker International Prize 2016, celebrating the finest in global fiction: Fiston Mwanza Mujila (from Congo, writing in French) and Eka Kurniawan (from Indonesia, writing in Bahasa).
This is the first longlist ever to have been announced for the Man Booker International Prize, which has joined forces with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and is now awarded annually on the basis of a single book. The £50,000 prize will be divided equally between the author of the winning book and its translator.
The longlist only includes two debut novels, one of them being TRAM 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, a Congolese writer based in Graz (Austria). First published by Éditions Métailié in France during the réntrée of 2014, the rights have also been acquired by 8 international publishers (see the full list here). In English, Deep Vellum has published the novel in North America; Scribe Publications in ANZ & South Asia; Speaking Tiger in India and Jacaranda Books in the UK & Ireland, translated by Roland Glasser.
«TRAM 83 is an antidote to the gloomy nature of most African novels. It doesn’t glamorize the ugliness, yet it’s alive to the thrill and abandonment of living for the moment and ‘satisfying the pleasures of the underbelly.» Wall Street Journal
«There is some Hieronymus Bosch in this frenetic, flamboyant, closed-door city slicker. An insolent, globe-trotting Hieronymus Bosch, one who would have read Gabriel García Márquez and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.» Le Monde
Eka Kurniawan has become an unstoppable rising star of Indonesian literature. In a recent profile on The Economist said: «If [Pramoedya] was the nation’s Zola, Mr. Eka is shaping up to be its Murakami: approaching social concerns at an angle rather than head-on, with hefty doses of surrealism and wry humour.»
His debut novel Beauty is a Wound is being translated into 28 languages (you can see the full list here) and film producers have already shown interest and discussions about a film adaptation have started. The English translation, by Anne Tucker, has been published by New Directions (North America), Text (ANZ) and Speaking Tiger in India. Soon out in the UK with Pushkin Press.
Highly praised, here are some of the quotes from literary critics and journalists on Eka Kurniawan’s novels:
«Kurniawan, born ten years after the massacres, is in many ways a literary child of Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez, and Salman Rushdie.» The New York Review of Books
«The combination of magic, lore, and pivotal events reverberating through generations will prompt readers to draw parallels between Kurniawan’s Halimunda and García Márquez’s Macondo.» Publishers Weekly
More information on both authors: Anna Soler-Pont