Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 17:27 UK

Six vie for foreign fiction prize

Juan Gabriel Vasquez
Juan Gabriel Vasquez is one of two Colombian authors shortlisted

Six books have been shortlisted for this year's prestigious Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

The £10,000 prize is given to a living author whose book has been translated into English and published in the UK in the last year.

Two of the nominees come from Colombia, alongside entries from China, Albania, France and Israel.

The winning author and translator will share the cash prize. The recipients will be announced in early May.

As well as the writer, the award recognises the importance of the translator in their ability to bridge the gap between languages and cultures.

Diversity and depth

Translator Anne McLean has been shortlisted twice for her work on The Armies, by Evelio Rosero, and The Informers, by Juan Gabriel Vasquez, which were both written in Spanish.

The other contenders are Voiceover by Celine Curiol, translated by Sam Richard from the French; Beijing Coma by Ma Jian, translated by Flora Drew from the Chinese; The Siege by Ismail Kadare, translated by David Bellos from the Albanian; and Friendly Fire by A B Yehoshua, translated by Stuart Schoffman from the Hebrew.

Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of The Independent and chair of the judges, said: "The judges have a chosen a shortlist that reflects all the diversity and depth of the global fiction that readers in this country can enjoy, and celebrates the artistry of the translators who deliver it to our doorstep."

Antonia Byatt, director of Literature Strategy at Arts Council England, said: "It's wonderful to see so many languages represented on the shortlist - these books provide a unique window on the world and a real feast for all lovers of fiction."

The winning book will be announced on 14 May at an awards ceremony in central London.

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