MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2019

From 2016 the Man Booker International Prize has evolved to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction in translation.

Key Dates

Longlist: 13 March 2019               Shortlist: 9 April 2019               Winner: 21 May 2019

WINNER

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi

Celestial Bodies, written by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth from Arabic and published by Sandstone Press, was announced as the winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2019 on 21 May. Jokha Alharthi, the first female Omani novelist to be translated into English, is the first author from the Arabian Gulf to win the prize.

Celestial Bodies is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society which is slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present. Elegantly structured and taut, it tells of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves.