Man Booker International Prize 2018: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft and published by Fitzcarraldo Editions is the winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2018, announced yesterday evening. The prize of £50,000 prize is divided equally between the author and translator.

Olga Tokarczuk is an award-winning and best-selling author in Poland whose work is now gaining recognition in the English-speaking world. She trained as a psychologist at the University of Warsaw, and her interest in Jung continues to influence her work. Her first book, a collection of poems, was published in 1989. She is the author of eight novels and two short-story collections.

Jennifer Croft translates from Polish, Spanish and Ukrainian, having studied Literary Translation at the University of Iowa. She is a founding editor of the Buenos Aires Review.

Flights is a novel of linked fragments, from the 17th century to the present day, connected by themes of travel and human anatomy.

The winner was selected from 108 submissions by a panel of five judges, chaired by Lisa Appignanesi OBE, and consisting of: Michael Hofmann, poet, reviewer and translator from German; Hari Kunzru, author of five novels including The Impressionist and White Tears; Tim Martin, journalist and literary critic, and Helen Oyeyemi, author of novels, plays and short stories including The Icarus Girl.

Lisa Appignanesi comments:

Our deliberations were hardly easy, since our shortlist was such a strong one. But I’m very pleased to say that we decided on the great Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk as our winner: Tokarczuk is a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache. In Flights, brilliantly translated by Jennifer Croft, by a series of startling juxtapositions she flies us through a galaxy of departures and arrivals, stories and digressions, all the while exploring matters close to the contemporary and human predicament – where only plastic escapes mortality.

More info here.

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