Kadare Takes Home Man Booker International Prize

The announcement was made earlier this month that Albanian author Ismail Kadare had won the Man Booker International Prize for his body of work (the award is given to deserving authors writing in English, or translated into English.) Kadare got to pick up his trophy in person in Edinburgh on Monday. There is coverage all over the place, including the BBC, the Herald, and the Scotsman.

I remember reading Kadare in French years ago, but I’ve never read anything of his in English. It wasn’t until I read one of the Lit Saloon’s many posts about the prize and the author that I realized why that might be. There are few translators from the Albanian to the English, and so Kadare’s work is in fact retranslated into English from the French, by David Bellos. You can read this essay by David Bellos over at the Complete Review, in which he talks about the problems of twice-removed translation, and in which he also explains how the Librairie Artheme Fayard and Albin Michel own the copyright to Kadare’s work.

Kadare himself has chosen Bellos to receive the translator prize associated with the International Man Booker, so one assumes he was happy with how he was translated. Kadare’s latest book in English is The Successor, which will be published by Canongate in the UK.