Turkish novelist Burhan Sönmez’s ‘Istanbul Istanbul’ named finalist for European prize
“Istanbul Istanbul” by Burhan Sönmez has been announced as one of the finalists of the first EBRD Literature Prize, a 20,000-euro award launched in 2017 by the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in partnership with the British Council and the London Book Fair.
The novel, translated from Turkish by Ümit Hussein and published by Telegram Books, is one of three finalists for the prize along with “All the World’s a Stage” by Boris Akunin, translated from Russian by Andrew Bromfield, and “Belladonna” by Daša Drndić, translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth.
“Istanbul Istanbul” is set in Turkey’s largest city after a military coup, narrating how four prisoners tell 10 stories to each other filled with love and humor while awaiting their fate.
The EBRD is a multilateral development bank, created after the fall of the Berlin Wall to help emerging economies move towards open markets. The Bank launched the prize in recognition of the vibrancy of its region’s literature, which is still little known in the English-speaking world.
The prize will be awarded to the best work of literary fiction originally written in a language from one of the 37 economies where the Bank invests, translated into English and published by a U.K. publisher.
The winner will receive the top prize of 20,000 euros, split evenly between the author and the translator, while the two runner-up titles will receive 2,000 euros, similarly divided.
A special event will also be held at London Book Fair (LBF) on April 11, featuring the prize winners and judges.