The book touted as the “first ever” Mauritanian novel translated into English has made the shortlist for the £2,000 Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize, a prize that rewards “literary translations into English from European languages”:
Photo from judge Emma Claussen.

Mbarek Ould Beyrouk’s The Desert and the Drum, translated from the French by Rachael McGill and published by Dedalus, is one of eight books on the 2019 Oxford-Weidenfeld shortlist.

Le Tambour des larmes was Mbarek Ould Beyrouk‘s fourth novel, and it was awarded the 2016 Ahmadou Kourouma Prize.

According to organizers, more than a hundred titles from 22 different European languages were submitted for this year’s Oxford-Weidenfeld.

The other seven shortlisted titles:

Gaito Gazdanov’s The Beggar and Other Stories, translated from the Russian by Bryan Karetnyk (Pushkin Press)

Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s About the Size of the Universe, translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton (MacLehose)

Dalia Grinkevičiūtė’s Shadows on the Tundra, translated from the Lithuanian by Delija Valiukenas (Peirene)

Christine Marendon’s Heroines from Abroad, translated from the German by Ken Cockburn (Carcanet)

Gine Cornelia Pedersen’s Zero, translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger (Nordisk Books)

Mario Benedetti’s Springtime in a Broken Mirror, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor (Penguin)

Ivo Andrić’s Omer Pasha Latas, translated from the Serbo-Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth (New York Review of Books)

This year’s jury is chaired by Simon Park. The other judges are Charlotte Ryland, Emma Claussen, and James Partridge.

The prize will be awarded on “Oxford Translation Day,” June 15, 2019.

Previous winners include Lisa Dillman for her translation of Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba, Philip Boehm for his translation of Herta Müller’s The Hunger Angel, and Margaret Jull Costa for her translation of José Saramago’s The Elephant’s Journey.

More on The Desert and the Drum:

‘The Desert and the Drum’: Ethnography and the Mauritanian Novel 

Friday Finds: Excerpt of ‘First Mauritanian Novel in English’