Wynne becomes first translator to chair International Booker Prize judges

Wynne becomes first translator to chair International Booker Prize judges

The International Booker Prize has revealed its judging panel for next year's award, to be chaired by Frank Wynne—the first time a translator has chaired the panel.

Actor and TV presenter Mel Giedroyc, academic Merve Emre, lawyer Petina Gappah and translator and author Jeremy Tiang will make up the panel of judges. The prize money for the 2022 award will also be increased to give each shortlisted author and translator £2,500, from £1,000 in previous years. 

The annual £50,000 prize, split equally between author and translator, is awarded to the best work of translated fiction, selected from entries published in the UK and Ireland between 1st May 2021 and 30th April 2022.

Fiammetta Rocco, administrator of the International Booker Prize, said: "The five judges, led by Frank Wynne, bring together a wealth of experience as world-class readers, writers, critics and translators. The discussions they will have about the books in contention for the 2022 International Booker Prize will be a masterclass of modern literary appreciation."

Wynne added: "There is no art more intimate than fiction, no connection more electrifying than that between writer and reader. Among an author’s most privileged, most attentive readers are the translators tasked with bringing a work from one language to another. To this day, I am in awe of the strange magic performed by people I now consider colleagues, and friends. I feel excited and daunted to set out on this global journey with such a distinguished group of judges, eager to discover what countries we will visit, what voices we will hear, what stories we will be told. I can imagine no better way to spend a year than in the company of some of the finest writers and their translators from around the globe."

The "Booker Dozen" of 12 or 13 books on the 2022 International Prize longlist will be announced in March 2022 and the shortlist of six books in April. The winners will be announced in May.

The 2021 winner, Daniel Diop's At Night All Blood is Black, was met with both public and critical acclaim, with the book’s publisher, Pushkin Press, ordering a five-figure reprint the day after the winner announcement. The week following the winner announcement, sales saw a 477% sale increase on the previous week. Former US President Barack Obama, a keen follower of both the Booker Prizes, recently listed At Night All Blood is Black at the top of his summer reading list.