Marieke Lucas Rijneveld first Dutch winner International Booker Prize

The Dutch author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has won the prestigious International Booker Prize with the debut novel The Discomfort of Evening, the English translation of Rijneveld’s debut novel De avond is ongemak. In a first reaction the writer says to be so proud “like a cow with seven udders”.

The 29-year-old Rijneveld is the first Dutch writer to win the very important prize for literature translated into English. This puts the author in a row with famous authors, including Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk, David Grossman and Philip Roth. Together with translator Michele Hutchison (1972) Rijneveld shares the more than 55,000 euro prize money.

The book by Rijneveld, which appeared two years ago in Dutch, is about ten-year-old Jas and her peasant family who lost a son after an accident. In 2019 the book was on the longlist of the Dutch Libris Literature Prize.

The news was announced via a livestream:

In the radio programme Nieuws en Co, Rijneveld is full of praise for the work of translator Hutchison. “It was crazy to hand it over, but she really stayed very close to the story. The poetry of the book, the rhythm; that is of course important for a translator in order to preserve that as well as possible. Michele has done that very well.”

Rijneveld is very happy with the cooperation with Hutchison. “You do it together and that’s why I think it’s so nice that the prize is for both the writer and the translator”, thinks Rijneveld.

The author has been working on a new book by now. “I’m working on it and we’re going to see when it’s coming. It’s especially nice to be working on something new.”

Tommy Wieringa and Harry Mulisch

This year the other nominees were The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by the Iranian writer Shokoofeh Azar, The Adventures of China Iron by the Argentine Gabriela Cabezรณn Cรกmara with Tyll by the German Daniel Kehlmann, Hurricane Season by Mexican Fernanda Melchor and The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa from Japan.