Fish Have No Feet
Icelandic writer Jón Kalman Stefánsson is nominated for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize for his novel Fish Have no Feet, translated to English by Phil Roughton. The original title is Fiskarnir hafa enga fætur, published in Iceland in 2013. The longlist for the prize was announced today, March 15th.
The prize is awarded every year for a single book, which is translated into English and published in the UK. Both novels and short-story collections are eligible. The work of translators is equally rewarded, with the £50,000 prize divided between the author and the translator of the winning entry. In addition, each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000 each. The judges considered 126 books.
The nominated books
Mathias Enard (France): Compass. Translated by Charlotte Mandell. (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Wioletta Greg (Poland): Swallowing Mercury. Translated by Eliza Marciniak. (Portobello Books)
David Grossman (Israel): A Horse Walks Into a Bar. Translated by Jessica Cohen. (Jonathan Cape)
Stefan Hertmans (Belgium): War and Turpentine. Translated by David McKay. (Harvill Secker)
Roy Jacobsen (Norway): The Unseen. Translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw. (Maclehose)
Ismail Kadare (Albania): The Traitor’s Niche. Translated by John Hodgson. (Harvill Secker)
Jón Kalman Stefánsson (Iceland): Fish Have No Feet. Translated by Phil Roughton. (Maclehose)
Yan Lianke (China): The Explosion Chronicles. Translated by Carlos Rojas. (Chatto & Windus)
Alain Mabanckou (France): Black Moses. Translated by Helen Stevenson. (Serpent’s Tail)
Clemens Meyer (Germany): Bricks and Mortar. Translated by Katy Derbyshire. (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Dorthe Nors (Denmark): Mirror, Shoulder, Signal. Translated by Misha Hoekstra. (Pushkin Press)
Amos Oz (Israel): Judas. Translated by Nicholas de Lange. (Chatto & Windus)
Samanta Schweblin (Argentina): Fever Dream. Translated by Megan McDowell. (Oneworld)
The longlist was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and consisting of: Daniel Hahn, an award-winning writer, editor and translator; Elif Shafak, a prize-winning novelist and one of the most widely read writers in Turkey; Chika Unigwe, author of four novels including On Black Sisters’ Street; and Helen Mort, a poet who has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Prize, and has won a Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award five times.
Jón Kalman Stefánsson
Jón Kalman Stefánsson is one of Iceland’s best known authors. His first published work, a poetry collection, came out in 1988. Since then, he has published other collections of poetry, short stories and a number of novels. His novel Sumarljós, og svo kemur nóttin (Summer Light, and then Comes the Night) won the Icelandic Literature Prize in 2005. Three of his books have also been nominated for The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize. Some of Jón Kalman’s work has been translated to other languages, German, French, English and the Scandinavian languages among them.
Fish Have No Feet is the first part in a new series by Jón Kalman Stefánsson. It is a timeslip novel that sets a writer’s return to present-day Keflavík – perhaps the darkest place in Iceland, surrounded by black lava fields and hemmed in by a sea that may not be fished – against the story of his grandparents’ struggle to survive in a village on the eastern coast. It was translated by Philip Roughton, who won the Oxford-Wiedenfeld Translation Prize for his translation of Stefánsson’s novel, The Heart of Man.