Bakker's The Detour wins Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

Bakker's The Detour wins Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

Dutch writer Gerbrand Bakker has won this year's £10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize with his novel The Detour, published by Harvill Secker.

It is the author's second major literary prize win; his previous novel, The Twin, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2010.

Bakker will share the prize money with the title's translator, David Colmer [pictured right].

The Detour follows Emilie, a translation professor and Emily Dickinson scholar, who retreats from her life in the Netherlands to an isolated farm house in Wales following an affair with a student.

Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of the Independent and award judge, said: "Swift-moving and apparently straightforward, but with mysterious hidden depths, The Detour is a novel that grips its reader tight and never lets go . . .

"In David Colmer's pitch-perfect and immersive translation, this book will both linger in your imagination and, quite possibly, haunt your dreams as well."

The award was presented at a ceremony sponsored by Tattinger at the Royal Institute of British Architects in central London this evening [20th May]. The judging panel also gave a special mention to Traveller of the Century by Andres Neuman, translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia, and published by Pushkin Press, described as "a very close contender".

Also on the shortlist was The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare, translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson (Canongate); Croatian author Dasa Drndic's Trieste, translated by Ellen Elisa-Bursac (Maclehose Press); Chris Barnard's Bundu, translated from Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns (Alma Books); and Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean (Harvill Secker).

The judging panel also comprised Jean Boase-Beier, professor of literature and translation at the University of East Anglia; Gabriel Josipovici, author, playwright and reviewer; and Elif Shafak, novelist and writer; and Frank Wynne, literary translator.

Booktrust, which administers the prize, this year piloted a Readers' Project connected to the award for the first time, with 300 readers shadowing the six shortlisted titles. The readers gathered at the Free Word Centre in London on Saturday [18th May] to discuss the titles and listen to a talk from author Shafak, as well as a translation duel.

A piece of research looking at the barriers to readers' engagement with world literature and recommendations for the trade to overcome them, resulting from the project, will be published in the second half of this year. English PEN, the Reading Agency and the British Centre for Literary Translation are partnering on the project with Booktrust.

 

 

Photo credit: Tom Pilston