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The Man Booker International Prize

Six novels were shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, celebrating the finest works of translated fiction from around the world. On Tuesday 21st May 2019, Celestial Bodies, written by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth from Arabic, was announced as the winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2019.

The prize is awarded every year for a single book, which is translated into English and published in the UK and Ireland. Both novels and short-story collections are eligible. Authors and translators are considered to be equally important, with the £50,000 prize being split between them. In addition, each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000.

For more information on the award, please visit the official Man Booker Prize website here.

The Man Booker International Prize Winner 2019

Chair of the Judges, Bettany Hughes

The translation is precise and lyrical, weaving in the cadences of both poetry and everyday speech. Celestial Bodies evokes the forces that constrain us and those that set us free. 

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Celestial Bodies - Jokha Alharthi

Celestial Bodies is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada.

These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present.

Elegantly structured and taut, Celestial Bodies is a coiled spring of a novel, telling of Oman's coming-of-age through the prism of one family's losses and loves.



The Man Booker International Prize 2019 Shortlist

Celestial Bodies

Jokha Alharthi



The Years

Annie Ernaux



The Pine Islands

Marion Poschmann