Elena Ferrante didn’t make it. The Story of the Lost Man Booker Prize


We don’t know who she or he is, we just know that Elena Ferrante wrote eight novels under that name. The Story of the Lost Child, one of them, was shortlisted for The Man Booker International Prize, which she (or he) lost.

The expectation were high on the mysterious novelist. The full shortlist included just six titles. It seemed that the Neapolitan writer with no identity could do it. However, she did not. The Vegetarian by the South Korean novelist Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith, was  announced as the winner.

But now think just for a second: what would have happened if Ferrante had won the prize? Who would have pick up the award, yesterday night, at the V&A?

Ferrante’s books have been translated by Ann Goldstein, who has become in a certain way the key person for her English readership.  The New Yorker‘s editor has translated works by, among others, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alessandro Baricco, and Alessandro Piperno, but she recently became popular thanks to Ferrante’s translations.

Somebody claims it is just a marketing strategy and readers should boycott it. In a rare interview with the Strega Prize winner Nicola Lagioia, Ferrante said that “writing is an act of pride“. What remains at the end of the day are her books and her story. And possibly, in the future, a TV series after the four Neapolitan novels.

The award encourages more publishing and reading of quality fiction in translation. As of 2016, the Man Booker International Prize awards annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK.


The Man Booker PrizeThe Story of the Lost Child
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