We asked the authors and translators longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2024 to recommend their favourite works of global fiction that have been translated into English

Publication date and time: Published
Selva Almada, author of Not a River

January by Sara Gallardo, translated by Frances Riddle and Maureen Shaughnessy

This is a short novel, written with great intensity and lyricism, about a peasant girl, pregnant from a rape, who doesn’t know how to have an abortion. It was a book written in the 1950s, when the author was just 25 years old, and is her first novel. And it is a book that lacks nothing. A novel that 70 years before abortion was legalised in Argentina already spoke of it as an urgent necessity for the life and health of women from the most vulnerable classes. It is a book of great lucidity and sensitivity.

Annie McDermott, translator of Not a River by Selva Almada

Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo, translated by Douglas J. Weatherford

It’s the story of a young man turning up in a town in search of his father, who he’s never met, and finding that it’s a town populated by ghosts, where the air is thick with the voices of the dead. I just love the tender, playful use Rulfo makes of slang and oral language – for him it’s not just ‘local colour’, but the raw materials of a kind of poetry.

Pedro Paramo
Rodrigo Blanco Calderón, author of Simpatía

The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith

Many great titles have been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, but the one that struck me most was Han Kang’s The Vegetarian. The story of this woman who slowly turns into a tree, or at least feels like one, reminds me of the awe and wonder I felt when I first read Kafka and García Márquez.

The Vegetarian
Noel Hernández González, translator of Simpatía by Rodrigo Blanco Calderón

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell

This is a novel that has stayed with me – I remember a feeling more than the story itself or its characters. A sun-drenched, sickening and unforgettable feeling. 

Fever Dream
Jenny Erpenbeck, author of Kairos

The Wall by Marlen Haushofer, translated by Shaun Whiteside 

This is the best book I’ve ever read when it comes to the unsettling experience of incomprehensible destruction, the so-called evil, in the world.

The Wall
Michael Hofmann, translator of Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck

A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen

I’d recommend it because it’s a funny book, and jokes are hard.   

A Horse Walks into a Bar
Ia Genberg, author of The Details

Carnality by Lina Wolff, translated by Frank Perry

Lina Wolff’s novels are so well-written and I recommend starting with Carnality. Her texts are brutal and complex, yet very nuanced. 

Kira Josefsson, translator of The Details by Ia Genberg

They Will Drown in Their Mother’s Tears by Johannes Anyuru, translated by Saskia Vogel

This book is incredible; so is, really, all of Anyuru’s writing. Thankfully both Saskia and his other translators, Nichola Smalley and Rachel Willson Broyles, are brilliant, so he’s in great hands. His prose has a quality that reminds me of Tomas Tranströmer – something about a kind of quiet spirituality suffusing everything, though in Anyuru’s case the writing is also intensely political. His work has grown increasingly dark over the years, but his view of life as sacred and on history as a felt, churning event, remain. 

They Will Drown in their Mothers Tears
Urszula Honek, author of White Nights

Dreams and Stones by Magdalena Tulli, translated by Bill Johnston

You should definitely try the books by Magdalena Tulli; for example, Dreams and Stones (‘Sny i kamienie’), translated by Bill Johnston. I don’t know any other Polish writer with such original language and imagination.

Dreams and Stones
Kate Webster, translator of White Nights by Urszula Honek

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein 

I adored the whole quartet of the Neapolitan novels and with each new instalment I revelled diving back into the saga and their exciting, brutal world. The intensity of the girls’ friendship, and how the dynamics shift as they move into adulthood, really rings true.

The Story of the Lost Child
John Hodgson, translator of A Dictator Calls by Ismail Kadare

In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale

There have been several Russians on the International Booker shortlists, but I would like to single out this subtle and highly original exploration of the connections between personal and historical past.

In Memory of Memory
Sarah Timmer Harvey, translator of What I’d Rather Not Think About by Jente Posthuma

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur

If I’m honest, I’ll read anything Anton Hur translates. I love and trust his eye and know that if he’s agreed to translate it, it’s going to be amazing. Cursed Bunny is no exception, the writing is phenomenal and thought-provoking. It’s a fierce collection of genre-defying short stories, both things mainstream publishing seems to be perpetually saying aren’t interesting to readers, yet Bora Chung and Hur are out here proving the opposite.

Cursed Bunny
Leah Janeczko, translator of Lost on Me by Veronica Raimo

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni, translated by Michael F. Moore

I would absolutely recommend this great 19th-century Italian classic in Michael F. Moore’s brilliant rendition, which won last year’s Italian Prose in Translation Award. The novel has all the elements of a great read – a compelling plot, suspense, history, humour, love – with none of the stuffiness often associated with classics, thanks to Michael’s translation, which is fresh, readable, meticulously researched and utterly inspiring. I loved every page. 

The Betrothed
Domenico Starnone, author of The House on Via Gemito

Deliver Us by Luigi Meneghello, translated by Frederika Randall

Libera nos a malo (published in English as Deliver Us) dates back to 1963, and it was important for me, as it encouraged me to work on the relationship between language and dialect.

Deliver Us
Oonagh Stransky, translator of The House on Via Gemito by Domenico Starnone

Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel

I was curious to read last year’s International Booker Prize winner because of my interest in the power of memory and remembering. I found the descriptions of time to be incredibly striking, I thought the premise was original and quirky; everything feels dreamlike but, at the same time, necessary – a kind of fanta-philosophy. 

Time Shelter
Itamar Vieira Junior, author of Crooked Plow

The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith

A cruel and inventive story written in an extraordinary manner. It’s one of those books that, even after so many years, we remember with the freshness of our first reading.

The Vegetarian
Johnny Lorenz, translator of Crooked Plow by Itamar Vieira Junior

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell

This is a book I’ve taught in my literature class at Montclair State University. As in The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, a child appears in this story, a boy who doesn’t seem quite right, a boy who frightens us. I love the way the book operates as a horror story; later we come to understand that the true horror of the story is something else entirely.

Fever Dream
Gabriela Wiener, author of Undiscovered

Deep Rivers by Jose Maria Arguedas, translated by Francis Horning Barraclough

I read as a girl, and it kept me company while I wrote Undiscovered; I was marked by its Andean lyricism, its mestizo pain, its cosmic Quechua vision. Arguedas is one of those writers whose amazing work was eclipsed by a writer like Vargas Llosa, who for many years has been almost the only representative of our literature. The truth is, it’s much more diverse. 

Deep Rivers
Julia Sanches, translator of Undiscovered

A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar, translated by Stefan Tobler 

This is a slim fireball of a novella. So much energy and intensity packed into, I believe, 80 pages. The translation is astonishing as well. 

A cup of Rage