From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón, translated by Victoria Cribb, has been shortlisted for the Independent ForeignFiction Prize. The book, an account of Jónas Pálmason “the Learned”, a prodigiously gifted but politically naive autodidact in 17th -century Iceland, was published in the UK last year with Telegram to critical acclaim which included enthusiastic write-ups by Carolyne Larrington in The Times Literary Supplementand A.S. Byatt in The Guardian.
The original longlist of fifteen books, logging works by Haruki Murakami, Amos Oz and Peter Nadas among others, was announced in March. Now, with a shortlist whittled down to six entries, the remaining authors include Umberto Eco, Judith Hermann and Diego Marani.
The prize is handed out to translated fiction considered to have distinguished itself on the UK book market in the past year. The prize is distinct in that it is divided equally between author and translator, underlining the importance of translation in bridging the gaps between cultures. Also to be commended, in our opinion, is the decision to supplement the £5000- prizes awarded to author and translator with a sizable bottle of some very nice champagne