We are thrilled to announce that DOUBLE NEGATIVE by Ivan Vladislavić has been shortlisted for the 8th Internationaler Literaturpreis, an annual award organized by Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Foundation Elementarteilchen. The Prize, founded in 2009, is awarded to new works of contemporary prose fiction and their first German translations. It focuses on the many facets of the literary practices of both writing and translating, while aiming to enhance the literary canon beyond national borders. Both the winning author and translator receive a prize, recognizing the value of both the author’s and translator’s work.

DOUBLE NEGATIVE is translated into German by Thomas Brűckner, and published by Munich-based A1 Verlag. The shortlist announcement was accompanied by this statement from the jury: “This year’s shortlist gathers narratives whose authors’ and characters’ lives all hover between languages, cultures and systems that were rendered in German by translators who energize their language in a fascinating way and sometimes reinvent it altogether...  In DOUBLE NEGATIVE Ivan Vladislavić manages the feat of linking great themes of the history of civilisation (racial segregation in his home) with moral and aesthetic issues (what is the truth of photography) to an important story about the time during and after apartheid. After the first free elections, the narrator returns to South Africa from London – now a photographer himself – to observe the changes. But what has really changed? Vladislavić stages the history without any kitsch or sentimentality, making the book, beautifully translated by Thomas Brückner, a literary masterpiece.”

DOUBLE NEGATIVE is a haunting novel about photography, memory and truth, brilliant meditation on our ways of seeing and recording, on how and what we remember, and the art of getting lost.

In addition to German, the novel has been translated into Croatian, French, Italian, Swedish and Turkish. See more about the novel on the And Other Stories site here.

Ivan is in good company on the 6-title shortlist, chosen from 151 submissions, alongside Johannes Anyuru, Alexander Ilitchevsky, Joanna Bator, Valeria Luiselli and Shumona Sinha. See the full shortlist details here.

The award-winning author and translator will be announced on 14 June and the Award Ceremony will take place on 25 June as part of a polyglot literature festival at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Under the thematic focus “Extending the reading zone” all shortlisted authors and translators are invited to present their works in individual readings given in the original language as well as in German translation. Two roundtables bring together nominees, award-winner and jury members to discuss experiences and current modes of transnational literary production. DOUBLE NEGATIVE, published by And Other Stories in 2013, was originally published in a collector’s edition along with David Goldblatt’s photographs of Johannesburg, jointly by Contrasto in Italy and Umuzi in South Africa in 2011. The joint edition was winner of the Kraszna-Krausz Award 2011. The novel has won the M-Net Prize and the University of Johannesburg Prize and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Award in South Africa.

About the author

Ivan Vladislavić is the award-winning, critically-acclaimed author of a prestigious body of literary work. Published in ten international markets, Ivan lives in Johannesburg, where he is a Distinguished Professor in Creative Writing at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has won and been shortlisted for South Africa’s most prestigious prizes and was awarded the Windham Campbell Prize 2015.

See more on Ivan’s website.


‘A substantial pleasure of the book is the way Vladislavić has made non-fiction in its many forms – critical theory, the essay, (the illusion of) memoir – rub against the domain of storytelling, resulting in an incandescently intelligent and profound work. It is also a masterclass in making one art form – photography – speak within and through the containing vessel of another, the novel, and creating contrapuntal music out of it.’ – Neel Mukherjee, The Independent

‘Vladislavić is sensitively attuned to the uncanny phenomena that explode from the social fault lines of his city, a flaneur aware of the dangers of looking, as well as the ethical perils of photographing strangers, and his protagonist seems to embody the changing gaze of white men in South Africa over the past 30 years... Perhaps inadvertently, the novel appears to be passing judgment on the limitations of photography itself, as if to suggest that writing alone is capable of plumbing the surfaces obscuring so many and such diverse lives.’ – Patrick Flanery, The Guardian

'Vladislavic's prose has a flinty humour to it… Well received in his homeland, this publication marks the long-overdue arrival of one of South Africa's most finely tuned observers, the lightbox of his work deftly exposing us to the shadowplay of our…"concatenated universe".' – Ted Hodgkinson, The Times Literary Supplement