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The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree shortlisted for International Booker Prize

6/01/2020 5:16 PM
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree shortlisted for International Booker Prize

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar has now been shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize.  It is the first time an Australian writer has been shortlisted for the prize since the restructure.

Azar, an Iranian refugee who now resides in Australia, originally wrote the book in 2017.

It was translated to English from Farsi by Wild Dingo Press, making it eligible for the prize, which was restructured in 2015 to become an annual translation award.

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is set in Iran in the 1980s, the decade that followed the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The novel is told from the perspective of the ghost of a 13-year-old girl, Bahar, who watches her family as they plan to leave their home in Tehran for a new life in a small village.

Regarding the translated version, Catherine Lewis of Wild Dingo Press has said that her company ‘felt strongly compelled to take the publishing plunge with The Enlightenment, despite having to invest in its translation’.

‘It seemed mad for a small publisher to take on such an expensive project, but we were certain that it was a novel for the world, not just Australia …’

The International Booker Prize is awarded annually for a book that has been translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. Although the prize money is split between the author and the translator, Azar has had to keep her translator’s identity anonymous.

She told The Sydney Morning Herald that if this person’s name was revealed, they would not be able to return to Iran.

Other books on the shortlist include:

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann

 

Read our review of The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree here.