29-year-old Dutch author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld was awarded the International Booker Prize for 2020 for his debut novel ‘The Discomfort of Evening.’ In the process, he became the youngest ever writer to win the prestigious award.
Published by Faber & Faber, the novel has been translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison.
The novel is about a 10-year-old girl Jas, who lives in the rural Netherlands. She is upset with her brother for not taking her along for an ice skating trip and makes a perverse plea to God. Unfortunately, her brother never returns from the trip, plunging the entire family into grief. The novel is a riveting case study of grief.
Congratulations to the #InternationalBooker2020 winner The Discomfort of Evening, by author @mariek1991 and translated from Dutch by @m_hutchison. https://t.co/hSx0SCcxN6@faberbooks #TranslatedFiction #TheDiscomfortofEvening #MariekeLucasRijneveld #MicheleHutchison pic.twitter.com/BYt9OYwMfi
— The Booker Prizes (@TheBookerPrizes) August 26, 2020
The judges panel was chaired by Ted Hodgkinson and included Lucie Campos, Jeet Thayil, Jennifer Croft, and Valeria Luiselli.
Ted Hodgkinson in a statement said that The Discomfort of Evening is a “tender and visceral evocation of a childhood caught between shame and salvation, and a deeply deserving winner.”
The shortlist for the prestigious award consisted of the following six books:
- The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (Farsi-Iran), translated by Anonymous, published by Europa Editions;
- The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara (Spanish-Argentina), translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh, published by Charco Press;
- Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann (Germany-German), translated by Ross Benjamin, published by Quercus;
- Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (Spanish-Mexico), translated by Sophie Hughes, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions;
- The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (Japanese-Japan), translated by Stephen Snyder, published by Harvill Secker;
- The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Dutch-Netherlands), translated by Michele Hutchison, published by Faber & Faber.
According to its website, The International Booker Prize is awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. The vital work of translators is celebrated, with the prize money divided equally between the author and translator.