Bulgarian writer wins International Booker Prize
London, May 23 (EFE).- “Time Shelter,” by Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov, was honored here Tuesday with the 2023 International Booker Prize, bestowed on the best work of international fiction translated into English.
Gospodinov, 55, accepted the prize together with translator Angela Rodel during the ceremony at London’s Sky Gardens and they will share the 50,000 pounds ($62,000) that accompanies the award.
The first book originally written in Bulgarian to win the prize, “Time Shelter” depicts a “clinic for the past” where people afflicted with Alzheimer’s can revisit their youth in settings reproducing previous decades in elaborate detail.
The jury chair, Franco-Moroccan journalist and writer Leila Slimani, described “Time Shelter” as a “brilliant novel, full of irony and melancholy.”
“But it is also a great novel about Europe, a continent in need of a future, where the past is reinvented, and nostalgia is a poison,” she said.
Gospodinov’s book prevailed over “Boulder,” by Spain’s Eva Baltasar; “Still Born,” by Mexican writer Guadalupe Nettel; “Standing Heavy,” by the Ivory Coast’s GauZ; “The Gospel According to the New World,” by Maryse Conde of Guadeloupe; and “Whale,” by South Korea’s Cheon Myeong-kwan
The international award was created in 2005 as a complement to the Booker Prize, among the most prestigious literary honors in the English-speaking world.
Entries were drawn from works in translation published in the United Kingdom or Ireland between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023. Books that win the International Booker Prize tend to enjoy major increases in popularity.
Sales in the UK of last year’s winner, “Tomb of Sand” by Indian writer Geetanjali Shree, soared from 473 copies prior to nomination to more than 30,000 after winning the prize, which also led to the book’s being published in the United States.