Author Jokha Alharthi has Tuesday with her novel Celestial Bodies the Man Booker International Prize 2019 won. The book, by Marilyn Booth from the Arabic translated, tells the story of three sisters who testify about the slow evolution of the Omani society after the colonial era. Alharthi is the first female author from Oman of whom work to the English was translated.
The Man Booker International Prize is awarded annually to a book that was translated into English and was published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He is regarded as one of the most prestigious awards for literature. The British price is good for 50,000 pounds (58.000 euros), money that is shared equally between writer and translator.
On the shortlist of this year there were five other books: The years of Annie Ernaux and translated by Alison L. Strayer, The Pine Islands of Marion Poschmann and translated by Jen Calleja, Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, The Shape of The Ruins of Juan Gabriel Vásquez translated by Anne McLean and The Remainder of Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated by Sophie Hugues.
‘Captures both the head and the heart’
It is the first time that an author from the Gulf states the Man Booker International Prize wins. “A book that both the head and the heart conquers, worth the effort to stand still’, it sounded promising from the mouth of judge Bettany Hughes during a ceremony in London. The translation of the work is according to Hughes ‘precise and lyrical, and intertwines with each other, the cadence of poetry and everyday language.’