Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeLatest NewsJenny Erpenbeck wins International Booker Prize for 'Kairos'

Jenny Erpenbeck wins International Booker Prize for ‘Kairos’

NEW DELHI: Jenny Erpenbeck, a German author, and Michael Hofmann, her translator, have been awarded the International Booker Prize for fiction for their work on ‘Kairos.’
The novel, which explores a complex love story set against the backdrop of East Germany‘s final years, emerged victorious among a shortlist of five other works, selected from a pool of 149 submitted novels.The prize, which comes with a 50,000-pound ($64,000) award split between the author and translator, recognizes outstanding translated fiction published in the UK or Ireland.
Eleanor Wachtel, a Canadian broadcaster who led the five-member judging panel, praised Erpenbeck’s novel, describing it as “a richly textured evocation of a tormented love affair, the entanglement of personal and national transformations.”
The story unfolds during the waning days of the German Democratic Republic, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Erpenbeck, aged 57, grew up in East Berlin, which was part of East Germany until the country’s reunification in 1990.
Wachtel drew parallels between the novel and the GDR, stating, “Like the GDR, (the book) starts with optimism and trust, then unravels so badly.” She also commended Hofmann’s translation for capturing the “eloquence and eccentricities” of Erpenbeck’s writing style.
The International Booker Prize, awarded annually, runs concurrently with the Booker Prize for English-language fiction, which will be presented later in the year. In 2022, the prize was awarded to “Time Shelter” by Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel, which also dealt with the theme of communism and its impact on Europe.
The International Booker Prize was established to increase the visibility of fiction written in languages other than English, which represents only a small fraction of the books published in Britain. It also aims to recognize the often-underappreciated work of literary translators.
Notably, Hoffman is the first male translator to receive the prize since its inception in its current format in 2016.

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