The Discomfort of Evening wins the 2020 International Booker Prize

In a virtual ceremony Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s debut novel, The Discomfort of Evening, translated into English by Michelle Hutchison has been unveiled as the winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize. 

The £50,000 prize will be split equally between Rijneveld and Hutchison, giving both the author and translator equal recognition. 

The Discomfort of Evening was chosen from a shortlist of six both following a length and rigorous judging process. Chair of the judges, Ted Hodgkinson, described the book as a “tender and visceral evocation of a childhood caught between shame and salvation, and a deeply deserving winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize.”

The Discomfort of Evening tells the story of Jas and her devout farming family in a strict Christian community in rural Netherlands. One winter’s day a tragic accident befalls the family, and Jas watches as the event ruptures and threatens her family. 

The first interview with Rijneveld and Hutchison following their win takes place at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this evening (BST) and will be available on demand until the end of the festival. You can access it HERE.

The International Booker Prize is awarded every year for a single book that is translated into English and published the preceding year in the UK or Ireland. It aims to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction from all over the world and to promote the work of translators. 

Both novels and short-story collections are eligible. The contribution of both author and translator is given equal recognition, with the £50,000 prize split between them. Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000, bringing the total value of the prize to £62,000. 

The other books making up the 2020 Shortlist were:

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (Farsi-Iran), translated by Anonymous. published by Europa Editions.

The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara (Spanish-Argentina), translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh. Published by Charco Press.

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann (Germany-German), translated by Ross Benjamin. published by Quercus.

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (Spanish-Mexico), translated by Sophie Hughes. Published by Fitzcarraldo Editions

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (Japanese-Japan), translated by Stephen Snyder. Published by Harvill Secker

You can find out more about the International Booker Prize HERE.

Order your copy of The Discomfort of Evening from Booktopia HERE.

Header Image from Booker Prizes

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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