London (EFE).- The Bulgarian Gueorgui Gospodinov was recognized this Tuesday with the prestigious Booker International for his novel “Time Shelter”, translated into English by Angela Rodel, who shares the award.
With a story that revolves around memory and Alzheimer’s, Gospodinov received a prize worth 50,000 pounds (57,000 euros) at a ceremony in London, which also ensures a boost to the global prestige of his work.
The writer beat out finalists this year such as the Spanish Eva Baltasar (“Boulder”) and the Mexican Guadalupe Nettel (“Still Born”), and succeeds previous winners such as the Polish Nobel Olga Tokarczuk and the Israeli David Grossman.
“It is a novel full of inventiveness, with an unexpectedly cheeky tone”, described the jury, chaired by the Franco-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani.
“But it’s also a subversive masterclass in the absurdities of national identity, something so relevant now. Part of a Central and Eastern European tradition that includes Milan Kundera, Dubravka Ugresic and Danilo Kis,” added the judges.
The International Booker, which recognizes each year a work of fiction translated into English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland, was established in 2005 as a complement to the Booker Prize, one of the most prominent in the Anglo-sphere.
The British award is often a major boost to English-language sales.
Eva Baltasar: “I see myself as a symptom of my time”
The writer Eva Baltasar, a finalist for the prestigious Booker International for her novel “Boulder”, valued this Tuesday in an interview with EFE the “freedom” with which she develops her works, with which she has achieved a deep connection with her audience.
“I see myself as a symptom of my time. The characters I create are women because I feel like a woman, they are lesbians because I feel like a lesbian. Without being the subject of the novel, they show the discomfort I feel for living in the society we are living in and I show it”, the author described.
“I am lucky that I can write freely. Thanks to the fact that there have been many authors behind me fighting for that to be the case, today I can do it and I feel very lucky ”, she added.
“Boulder” is the first book originally written in Catalan nominated as a finalist for Booker International, an award endowed with 50,000 pounds (57,000 euros), which was won this year by the Bulgarian Gueorgui Gospodinov for “Time Shelter”.
All in all, having been among the finalists for the award will generate “a lot of visibility for ‘Boulder’, for my work and also for literature in Catalan,” he said.
Guadalupe Nettel, Booker finalist with a work beyond “female literature”
The Mexican Guadalupe Nettel, finalist for the International Booker prize, to which she was nominated this year for her novel “Still Born” (“The only daughter”), highlighted this Tuesday in an interview with EFE that books written by women have surpassed the label of “feminine literature”.
“Since I started writing, until now, several decades have passed. Before, they always asked me what women’s literature consisted of. I am happy that this has already been abolished, that we now think regardless of gender, ”she said.
“Women can write literature like everyone else. The kinds of topics that call out to us are becoming more interesting to male and female readers, binary, trans, and whoever. I’m so glad those labels are running out,” she added.
Despite not having won the award, which was won by the Bulgarian Gueorgui Gospodinov for “Time Shelter”, Nettel claimed to be living a “dream” by being among the finalists at the International Booker award ceremony, held on top of one of the skyscrapers of the City of London.
“All this has been very surprising and very beautiful at the same time. I see it as a culmination of a lot of work, like a harvest time,” she described.
Nettel was nominated along with her English translator, Rosalind Harvey, for an award that boosts the worldwide projection of both its finalists and its winners.