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'Time Shelter' Wins the 2023 International Booker Prize

Georgi Gospodinov’s novel, translated by Angela Rodel, is the first Bulgarian book to win this prestigious award.
Tertulia •
May 23rd, 2023

Last night in London, Time Shelter, written by Georgi Gospodinov and translated by Angela Rodel, became the first book translated from Bulgarian to win the prestigious International Booker Prize.

Time Shelter is about a "clinic for the past," which offers Alzheimer's patients the opportunity to visit a particular floor that takes them back in time to another decade. But as the period rooms become more convincing, healthy people start seeking out the clinic as a place to escape the horrors of their present reality.

"Our winner, Time Shelter, is a brilliant novel, full of irony and melancholy," said Leïla Slimani, chair of this year's judging panel. "It is a profound work that deals with a very contemporary question: What happens to us when our memories disappear? Georgi Gospodinov succeeds marvellously in dealing with both individual and collective destinies and it is this complex balance between the intimate and the universal that convinced and touched us."

In an interview with the Booker Prizes Foundation, the author named Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain and Proust's In Search of Lost Time as influences on his work, as well as a few songs that deal with time and memory like "Hotel California" by The Eagles.

While the book is a work of fiction, the judging panel praised the book's ability to interrogate our concepts of national and societal identity:

"How do individuals, nations, even continents, decide on what to remember, and what to forget? The novel also makes us contemplate the very concept of Time itself in a different way. Nostalgia is more than what it used to be." 

Selecting finalists from among submissions from all over the world is a tremendously difficult task for the panel. The winner and five other shortlisted books are some of the most inventive and original specimens of living writers around the globe.

The Winner

Time Shelter

The Finalists

Still Born

Guadalupe Nettel’s gripping and insightful fourth novel explores one of life’s most consequential decisions – whether or not to have children. 

By Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey | Releases 8/8; preorder available

The Gospel According to the New World

A miracle baby is rumored to be the child of God. Award-winning Caribbean author Maryse Condé follows his journey in search of his origins and mission. 

By Maryse Condé, translated from the French by Richard Philcox


An adventure-satire of epic proportions, which sheds new light on the changes Korea experienced in its rapid transition from pre-modern to post-modern society. 

By Cheon Myeong-kwan, translated from the Korean by Chi-Young Kim


Eva Baltasar demonstrates her pre-eminence as a chronicler of queer voices navigating a hostile world in prose as brittle and beautiful as an ancient saga.  

By Eva Baltasar, translated from the Catalan by Julia Sanches

Standing Heavy

A unique insight into everything that passes under a security guard's gaze, which also serves as a searingly witty deconstruction of colonial legacies and capitalist consumption. 

By GauZ', translated from the French by Frank Wynne (Preorder for October 3, 2023 publication in the U.S.)

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