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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Ahmed Saadawi’s 'Frankenstein in Baghdad' makes Man Booker International Longlist

The Man Booker International Prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, is awarded to a single book which is translated into English and published in the UK

When Ahmed Saadawi finished writing Frankenstein in Baghdad, a dark fantasy about the war that tore Iraq apart a decade ago, he thought his novel dealt with the past. But just like the monster Mary Shelley first dreamt up exactly 200 years ago, Saadawi's hero took on a life of its own. AFP
When Ahmed Saadawi finished writing Frankenstein in Baghdad, a dark fantasy about the war that tore Iraq apart a decade ago, he thought his novel dealt with the past. But just like the monster Mary Shelley first dreamt up exactly 200 years ago, Saadawi's hero took on a life of its own. AFP

Ahmed Saadawi’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction winner, Frankenstein in Baghdad, has been announced as one of the 13 books to make the Man Booker International Longlist.

The Man Booker International Prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, is awarded to a single book which is translated into English and published in the UK.

Frankenstein in Baghdad tells the story of an unnamed creature, stitched together from the body parts of people killed during the civil war following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and who stalks the streets exacting his own peculiar justice on those he finds deserving.

Of the translation, which was released in early February, Saadawi told The National, “I do hope English readers will enjoy it as a work of art. But also that it will be a chance for them to find out about Iraq and Baghdad through the eyes of a local writer, beyond what appears in the media or in news coverage.”

This year's judging panel is chaired by Lisa Appignanesi OBE, Michael Hofmann, Hari Kunzru, Tim Martin and Helen Oyeyemi. “Judging this Man Booker International Prize has been an exhilarating adventure. We have travelled across countries, cultures, imaginations, somehow to arrive at what could have been an even longer longlist," says Appignanesi. "It’s one which introduces a wealth of talent, a variety of forms and some writers little known in English before. It has great writing and translating energy and we hope readers take as much pleasure in discovering the work as we did.”

Complete Man Booker International Longlist

  • The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor (Harvill Secker)
  • The Impostor by Javier Cercas, translated by Frank Wynne (MacLehose Press)
  • Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes translated by Frank Wynne (MacLehose Press)
  • Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky (Portobello Books)
  • The White Book by Han Kang translated by Deborah Smith (Portobello Books)
  • Die, My Love, by Ariana Harwicz, translated by Sarah Moses and Carolina Orloff (Charco Press)
  • The World Goes On, by László Krasznahorkai, translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzetand and George Szirtes (Tuskar Rock Press)
  • Like a Fading Shadow, by Antonio Muñoz Molina translated by Camilo A. Ramirez (Tuskar Rock Press)
  • The Flying Mountain, by Christoph Ransmayr, translated by Simon Pare (Seagull Books)
  • Frankenstein in Baghdad, by Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright (Oneworld)
  • Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • The Stolen Bicycle, by Wu Ming-Yi, translated by Darryl Sterk (Text Publishing)
  • The Dinner Guest, by Gabriela Ybarra, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Harvill Secker)

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Read more:

‘Frankenstein In Baghdad' to be released in English: we speak to Ahmed Saadawi

'Frankenstein in Baghdad': A monster made from the souls of a ruined city

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