Leïla Slimani has been revealed to be the chair of the International Booker Prize 2023.
The International Booker Prize is awarded annually for the finest single work of fiction from around the world which has been translated into English and published in the UK and Ireland. Some of the previous winners of the award, worth £50,000 split between author and translator, have been Chinua Achebe (in its older iteration) and David Diop (and its current version).
The cycle for 2023 has kicked off with the announcement of the panel of judges chaired by Leïla Slimani. She is joined on the panel by academic Uilleam Blacker, author and lawyer Tan Twan Eng, The New Yorker staff writer Parul Sehgal, and Financial Times Literary Editor Frederick Studemann.
Slimani is the bestselling author of Lullaby (published in America as The Perfect Nanny), one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2018, for which she became the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. Her first novel, Adèle, about a sex-addicted woman in Paris, won the Mamounia Prize for the best book by a Moroccan author written in French and inspired her non-fiction book Sex and Lies: True Stories of Women’s Intimate Lives in the Arab World. Her most recent novel is In The Country Of Others, the first installment of a planned trilogy fictionalising the author’s family history.
Slimani on the announcement said, “As a child, I lived in books. Through the magic of fiction, I was a Russian princess, a gold digger, a little orphan from the suburbs of London, an alchemist from the Colombian mountains. This is what novelists teach us and what translators offer us: in literature there are no borders, no illegals, no outcasts. Fiction is my home and I am more than happy to be able to live there for several months, surrounded by friends and colleagues, to celebrate our passion for words and stories. It is a great honour and responsibility to present this prestigious award to a novelist and to his or her translator whose talents have enabled them to be read by English-speaking readers.”
Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the International Booker Prize, said: ‘Led by Leïla Slimani, the five judges of the International Booker Prize 2023 bring a wealth of talent and global experience as writers, critics, translators – and most of all as readers. At the end of the prize cycle, in May 2023, their reading and discussions will give them an unparalleled view of the new fiction from around the world, written in other languages that has been translated into English and published in UK and Ireland. Their recommendations should leap to the top of you must-read list.’