Hassan Blasim shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

The shortlist was announced this morning and we're pleased to report that Hassan Blasim's The Iraqi Christ is one of the final six titles competing for the prize.

The first ever Arabic title to make the shortlist, The Iraqi Christ is Blasim’s second short story collection, following the success of his UK debut The Madman of Freedom Square, which was also longlisted for the Prize in 2010. The stories in The Iraqi Christ explore the atrocities of war and sectarian violence in his home country, in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, and the trauma of exile, taking us from the streets of Baghdad to the dark forests of Finland, with a prose style that has been compared to Kafka, Gogol, Borges and Bolaño.

Judge Boyd Tonkin said of The Iraqi Christ: 'Strung between reportage, memoir and dark fantasy, these linked stories present Iraq, post-Saddam and post-invasion, as a surrealist inferno. Bizarre horrors become everyday events. Outlandish tragedies punctuate ordinary life. Blasim's wild imagination, pitchblack comedy and fierce compassion, all captured by Jonathan Wright's pacy, pugnacious translation, keep nihilism at bay.'

The winner will be announced on the 22nd May.  More about the award here.  Photos (c) Claire Shanahan and Hannah Davies.