Georgi Gospodinov, a writer from Bulgaria, won the International Booker Prize for his book “Time Shelter.”

For the book “Time Shelter,” by Georgi Gospodinov of Bulgaria and Angela Rodel, they were awarded the International Booker Prize. This is the first Bulgarian-language book to be awarded the Booker Prize. At a gathering in London, the name was disclosed. Each of the six authors whose works were selected for the esteemed literary award won £50,000 ($62,000 at the time of writing), which they will divide with the English translation of their respective works.

Leïla Slimani, Chair of the International Booker Prize 2023 judges said, “‘Our winner, Time Shelter, is a brilliant novel, full of irony and melancholy. It is a profound work that deals with a very contemporary question: What happens to us when our memories disappear? Georgi Gospodinov succeeds marvellously in dealing with both individual and collective destinies and it is this complex balance between the intimate and the universal that convinced and touched us.”

Speaking about the book, author Georgi Gospodinov said, “My urge to write this book came from the sense that something had gone awry in the clockworks of time. You could catch the scent of anxiety hanging in the air, you could touch it with your finger. After 2016 we seemed to be living in another world and another time. The world’s disintegration with the encroachment of populism and playing the card of the ‘great past’ in the US and in Europe provoked me.”

Angela Rodel said, “I actually began translating the book before I had the chance to read it, for the simple reason that it had not been finished yet! Given the success of Georgi’s previous novel, The Physics of Sorrow, numerous people, especially colleagues from his Cullman Center fellowship, but also his agent and others, were very eager to get a peek at his new work-in-progress – thus in the fall of 2019 I translated a 50-page excerpt of what would later become the opening of Time Shelter, which was finally published in Bulgarian in the infamous spring of 2020. Once the full Bulgarian final draft was ready, I dove in and translated the whole book in about six months.”

This year, authors from South Korea, France, Mexico, Bulgaria, Spain, Côte d’Ivoire, and Spain fought for the honour. For the first time, works in Catalan and Bulgarian were shortlisted.
Six outstanding stories, each with a special topic, are on this year’s shortlist. Among these are Guadalupe Nettel’s Still Born, Eva Baltasar’s Boulder, Cheon Myeong-kwan’s Whale, Gauz’s Standing Heavy, Georgi Goapodinov’s Time Shelter, and Maryse Condé’s The Gospel According to the New World.

The International Booker Prize is a yearly prize presented for the “finest single work of fiction” published in the United Kingdom and Ireland that is in English translation, according to the official website. The prize strives to celebrate the significant contributions that translators and translated literature have made to the literary world, in addition to highlighting the works of well-known and lesser-known authors from around the globe.

In 1968, the Booker Prize was founded, and the first prize was given out the following year. Prior to 2013, the prize was only given to authors of English-language works who resided in a Commonwealth nation, Ireland, or Zimbabwe. After that, the organising committee opened up nominations for English-language works that had been published in the United Kingdom.

Since 2005, English-language translations of literary works have been eligible for the International Booker Prize. At first, the winners were revealed every two years, but in 2016, it changed to an annual award. The winner is chosen yearly by a five-person judging team made up of authors, translators, and reviewers. In 2023, Leila Slimani, a French author of Moroccan descent, served as its chair.

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