The International Booker Prize is awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. The vital work of translators is celebrated, with the prize money divided equally between the author and translator.
This year’s winner is Marieke Lucas Rijneveld with The Discomfort of the Evening, a tender and visceral evocation of childhood grief, caught between shame and salvation.
Born in April 1991 in Nieuwendijk, Netherlands, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, whose preferred pronouns are they/them, is the youngest author to win The International Booker Prize. The Dutch author grew up in a Reformed farming family in North Brabant before moving to Utrecht and, alongside their writing career, Rijneveld still works on a dairy farm.
The Discomfort of Evening tells the story of Jas and her devout farming family in a strict Christian community in rural Netherlands. One winter’s day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip. Resentful at being left alone, she attempts to bargain with God pitting the life of her pet rabbit against that of her brother; he never returns. As grief overwhelms the farm, Jas succumbs to a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies, watching her family disintegrate into a darkness that threatens to derail them all.