For the second year in a row, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty member is vying for a Man Booker Prize.
Jordan Stump, professor of French, is on the Man Booker International Prize 2016 Longlist for his English translation of the French novel “Ladivine” by Marie NDiaye. The list consists of 13 books, from a pool of 155 manuscripts considered by the judges.
Assistant professor of English Chigozie Obioma was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his debut novel, “The Fisherman.”
The Man Booker International Prize is awarded to a single work of fiction, translated into English and published in the United Kingdom. The 2016 longlist was announced March 10 and a shortlist will be announced April 14. The winner will be named in May.
Stump has enjoyed a career translating more than 30 French-language novels into English, but Ndiaye’s work has been one of the most formidable challenges to translate, Stump said, which makes this recognition even sweeter.
“I have loved NDiaye’s writing since the early ’90s,” Stump said. “The brilliance of her imagination and her unique voice is stronger here than I think I’ve ever seen it before in any of her other books. I read it when it came out and I was just thrilled with it and I felt like I had to translate it.”
The book explores the themes of class, familial ties, secrets, forgiveness and guilt through the story of a middle-aged woman who has spent the majority of her life hiding her true identity from her husband and daughter.
Stump said being recognized on the long list complements the feeling of accomplishment he had from being able to translate one of his favorite novels to share it with the English-speaking world.
“To me, the great, great, great delight of translating comes when I read a page of my translation and I realize that that’s the thing I was going for,” Stump said. “There’s no happier feeling. If (‘Ladivine’) wins this award, I will be ecstatic, but it still won’t be as nice as that.”
This is the first longlist to have been announced for the Man Booker International Prize. Previously, the prize was awarded every two years for a writer’s entire body of work. In July 2015, it was announced that the international prize was being changed to “to encourage more publishing and reading of quality works in translation” and “to ensure that ‘the Man Booker’ can now honor fiction at its finest on a truly international basis,” according to a news release.
As a further acknowledgement of the importance of translation, the Man Group, which sponsors the prizes, will split the £50,000 prize equally between the author and the translator. Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000.