Michał Witkowski's novel Lovetown was included on the longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011. It was beat out by Orhad Pamuk, Santiago Roncagliolo, Alberto Barrera Tyszka, Per Petterson, Jenny Erpenbeck and Marcelo Figueras in the shortlist announced on April 11, 2011
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is awarded annually to the best work of contemporary fiction in translation. The winning author and translator will be awarded £5,000 each and a limited edition magnum of Champagne Taittinger.
Michał Witkowski's Lubiewo came out in Poland in 2005 stirring a big sensation. Although the book was initially advertised mainly as the first Polish queer novel, it went on to receive much critical acclaim and won many prestigious literary prizes. In 2009 it was translated into English by W. Martin and put out by Portobello Books. The following year Loveland was reviewed and praised in British press (read here).
This year's list features a number of previous Independent Foreign Fiction Prize winners including the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, who won the first-ever Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 1990 alongside translator Victoria Holbrook, for The White Castle; Per Petterson who won the Prize in 2006 for Out Stealing Horses, and former winning translators Anne McLean (2009, 2004) and Frank Wynne (2005).
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize ran previously between 1990 and 1995 and the Prize was revived with the support of Arts Council England in 2001. The £10,000 prize money and associated costs are funded by Arts Council England. The Prize is also supported by the Independent and Champagne Taittinger.
The judges for this year's prize are: Harriett Gilbert, writer, academic and broadcaster; Author, M.J. Hyland; Catriona Kelly, writer and Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford; Novelist and reviewer, Neel Mukherjee; Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor of the Independent.
Previous winners of the Prize include Milan Kundera in 1991 for Immortality translated by Peter Kussi; W.G. Sebald and translator Anthea Bell in 2002 for Austerlitz, and Paul Verhaegan, who also translated his own work, for Omega Minor in 2008. The 2010 winner was Brodeck's Report by French writer Philippe Claudel, translated from the French by American John Cullen.
Previous Polish novels shortlisted to the Prize include Mercedes Benz (2006) and Castorp (2008) by Paweł Huelle, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, published by Serpent's Tail.
The shortlist of six books was announced on Monday April 11 at the London Book Fair. The overall winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011 will be announced at an awards ceremony in central London on May 26, 2011 at the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Source: Polish Cultural Institute in London, www.instytutksiążki.pl