How to read the 2023 International Booker Prize longlist in Canada

2023 will go down as the year everyone’s International Booker Prize predictions were wrong. I was surprised not to see Mieko Kawakami, Han Kang, Yōko Tawada, or Sayaka Murata, and I was so sure we’d see the new Can Xue, Barefoot Doctor, that I shelled out nearly $30 for the ebook!

I love this list though. It’s the most accessible one I’ve seen in years, meaning that even in Canada, you can read the whole longlist ahead of the prize being awarded, if you want to. You could buy half the longlist right now from Canadian retailers. You could buy the whole longlist from Blackwell’s for $332.77 CAD.

These insights and more are available in my annual spreadsheet. It includes a bit of demographic info, but mostly helps you figure out where to obtain these books in Canada for the best price. My sources are noted, but generally, Canadian cover prices are from Glass Bookshop, library availability refers to Edmonton Public Library, and UK editions are from Blackwell’s. All prices are in CAD and include shipping. I didn’t bother linking to publisher’s websites this time, because for once, it’s not necessary.

I’m happy to see a nice range of languages (Tamil, Bulgarian, Catalan, and Norwegian, in addition to the usual suspects – but notably, no Japanese!) and a nice range of ages (the youngest writer is 35-year-old Amanda Svensson, while the oldest, and the oldest ever to make the list, is 89-year-old Maryse Condé – or is she 86, as Wikipedia claims?) though it’s skewing a little older this year, and very heavy on Gen X writers (seven out of 13).

I got a lot of traction (i.e. almost 100 likes) on a tweet complaining about the “creative” way book prizes present their longlists. The International Booker Prize gave us the courtesy of a text-based list, but even then, you have to click through to see the authors and translator names, so for your convenience, here’s your plain-text, detailed longlist*:

  • Ninth Building by Zou Jingzhi, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy Tiang
  • A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding by Amanda Svensson, translated from the Swedish by Nichola Smalley
  • Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey
  • Pyre by Perumal Murugan, translated from the Tamil by Aniruddhan Vasudevan
  • While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire
  • The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier, translated from the French by Daniel Levin Becker
  • Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv by Andrey Kurkov, translated from the Russian by Reuben Woolley
  • Is Mother Dead by Vigdis Hjorth, translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund
  • Standing Heavy by GauZ’, translated from the French by Frank Wynne
  • Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
  • The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé, translated from the French by Richard Philcox
  • Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan, translated from the Korean by Chi-Young Kim
  • Boulder by Eva Baltasar, translated from the Catalan by Julia Sanches

And shout out to Bookstagrammer time4reading who posted her own simple list of books plus where to source them in Canada – she’s Toronto-based, so if your library or prefered bookstore is in TO, check her out.

As always, follow the IBP Shadow Panel for reviews and Eric Karl Anderson for a peek behind the scenes (he usually gets to go to the awards ceremony, I think!)

*Not seeing any official sources for the original languages so I took my best guess!



  1. Rebecca Foster

    This is true dedication! Likewise, I would love to follow the Carol Shields Prize, but can only source a couple of the books easily (one I already owned and one is readily available via the library). It would require buying the others new from Amazon, spending £100+. Have you tried contacting the publishers, whether UK or Canadian, and asking for e-copies for review? They might be open to that if not to shipping print books internationally. And I do recommend Still Born, which is more interesting than a bare summary makes it sound.

    • lauratfrey

      No, I’m not that dedicated 🙂 Or really, I don’t want to feel obligated to read and review everything on a timeline. Let me know if you need help with any of the Carol Shields books! And thanks for the nudge on Still Born.

  2. bookbii

    Nice post. I am totally with you on a nice, clean basic text list of the long listed books. So sick of seeing a long list solely in video format. Thanks for posting that here.

  3. kimbofo

    Ah yes, the list announcements that aren’t published as lists to copy and paste are INFURIATING! The people who put them together have clearly never worked in corporate communications or journalism where they would KNOW that recipients need info in a basic format, like a Word document, and not some jazzy illustrated PDF or picture file that are impossible to extract info from … instead you have to rekey everything yourself. Urgh.

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