It’s difficult to find a moment to celebrate or congratulate. Nonetheless:

hatredMabrouk to Khaled Khalifa that his excellent novel, In Praise of Hatred, trans. beautifully Leri Price (mabrouk, Leri) made this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) longlist, which apparently was released slightly ahead of schedule.

In Praise of Hatred, published in 2006, was also shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2008.

In my review of Khalifa’s novel (“The Great Hate Story“), I noted: “Love is a subject that has animated great poetry, novels and memoirs for a thousand years and more. Hate has been explored comparatively little.” Khalifa’s dense, beautiful book does an excellent job of exploring the dimensions of, and human uses for, hate, which he shows as much more than simply “the absence of” or flip-side of love.

The book is officially banned in Syria, where Khalifa was attacked while participating in the funeral of a friend, Rabi Ghazzy. The author is currently in Brussels for the Passa Porta Festival, where he will stay for five weeks working on a novel set during the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Many of the world’s great writers, and some of the English language’s best translators, are on this year’s IFFP longlist, which has previously featured Hassan Blasim’s Madman of Freedom Square and Elias Khoury’s Yalo (both 2010). Three of the five judges for this year’s prize — Elif Shafak, Frank Wynne and Boyd Tonkin — will discuss the long-list at the ‘Independent’ Bath Literature Festival today.  The other two judges are Gabriel Josipovici and Jean Boase-Beier.

The shortlist will be announced next month, and the winner in May.

Other books on the IFFP longlist:

Gerbrand Bakker: The Detour (translated by David Colmer from the Dutch), and published by Harvill Secker

Chris Barnard: Bundu (Michiel Heyns; Afrikaans), Alma Books

Laurent Binet: HHhH (Sam Taylor; French), Harvill Secker

Dasa Drndic: Trieste (Ellen Elias-Bursac; Croatian), MacLehose Press

Pawel Huelle: Cold Sea Stories (Antonia Lloyd-Jones; Polish), Comma Press

Pia Juul: The Murder of Halland (Martin Aitken; Danish), Peirene Press

Ismail Kadare: The Fall of the Stone City (John Hodgson; Albanian), Canongate

Karl Ove Knausgaard: A Death in the Family (Don Bartlett; Norwegian), Harvill Secker

Laszlo Krasznahorkai: Satantango (George Szirtes; Hungarian), Tuskar Rock

Alain Mabanckou: Black Bazaar (Sarah Ardizzone; French), Serpent’s Tail

Diego Marani: The Last of the Vostyachs (Judith Landry; Italian), Dedalus

Andrés Neuman, Traveller of the Century (Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia; Spanish), Pushkin Press

Orhan Pamuk: Silent House (Robert Finn; Turkish), Faber

Juan Gabriel Vásquez: The Sound of Things Falling (Anne McLean; Spanish), Bloomsbury

Enrique Vila-Matas: Dublinesque (Rosalind Harvey & Anne McLean; Spanish), Harvill Secker

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