Catalan writer Eva Baltasar shortlisted for 2023 International Booker prize for 'Boulder'

First ever novel originally in Catalan nominated for prestigious award for fiction translated into English

2023 International Booker Prize shortlisted books
2023 International Booker Prize shortlisted books / Booker Prizes
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

April 18, 2023 06:05 PM

The 2023 International Booker Prize has shortlisted Eva Baltasar's novel 'Boulder' for this year's award, the first ever work originally in Catalan ever selected.

The prize is for fiction translated into English and is awarded annually to the author and translator of the best eligible novel or collection of short stories, published in the UK or Ireland.

"The books, authors and translators the prize celebrates offer readers a window onto the world and the opportunity to experience the lives of people from different cultures," a statement released by the organizers read.

The shortlist of six books was announced on Tuesday, and the winning title will be revealed at a ceremony at London's Sky Garden on May 23.

The jury chose Baltasar's novel, translated by Julia Sanches and published by 'And Other Stories' on August 2, 2022, describing it as a "sensuous, sexy, intense book."

"Baltasar condenses the sensations and experiences of a dozen more ordinary novels into just over one hundred pages of exhilarating prose. An incisive story of queer love and motherhood that slices open the dilemmas of exchanging independence for intimacy," the prize organizers said.

'Boulder' is a "very intense, poetic, sensual book about all kinds of appetites. A feverish exploration of desire, a vibrant love story between two women, lyrical and simmering, written with lucidity and great freedom of tone. An impressive work of translation," the jury said.

The other shortlisted books are 'Still Born,' by Guadalupe Nettel; 'Standing Heavy,' by GauZ'; 'Time Shelter,' by Georgi Gospodinov; 'The Gospel According to the New World,' by Maryse Condé; and 'Whale,' by Cheon Myeong-kwan.

Since 'Boulder' was released in March 2020 in Catalonia, there have been over 20,000 copies sold in Catalan, and it has been translated into English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Danish, Greek, Dutch, Slovenian, and Galician.

"I wrote three Boulders. Three different novels with the same title and the same intention: portraying a boulder-like character," Eva Baltasar said in an interview for the International Booker Prize.

"I tried to create a character, to be the hand that shapes the soul and maps out a story for the body. But I wasn’t in love with those two characters, who were completely different from each other. I deleted the two novels and spent a few months learning how to give in," she added.

In 2020, 'Boulder' was awarded the Catalan Òmnium novel award and was shortlisted for the French 2022 Les Inrockuptibles prize.