Novel published in the Highlands wins Man Booker International

Jokha Alharthi's novel Celestial Bodies - published by Sandstone Press - has won the Man Booker International Prize.
Jokha Alharthi's novel Celestial Bodies - published by Sandstone Press - has won the Man Booker International Prize.
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A translation of a novel printed by a small Scottish book publisher has been named the winner of the Man Booker International Prize.

Jokha Alharthi, the £50,000 award’s first winner to write in Arabic, shares the prize equally with her translator, American academic Marilyn Booth.

Celestial Bodies, which follows the lives of three sisters in an Omani village, was published in English by Sandstone Press, based in Dingwall.

Sandstone said: “Congratulations to Jokha Alharthi and Marilyn Booth on winning the International @ManBookerPrize for Celestial Bodies. We’re so proud to have brought this book to an English speaking audience, and we’re delighted that the judges see the same things in it that we do.”

Chair of judges for the prize, historian Bettany Hughes said: “Through the different tentacles of people’s lives and loves and losses we come to learn about this society – all its degrees, from the very poorest of the slave families working there to those making money through the advent of a new wealth in Oman and Muscat. We fell in love with it.”

Celestial Bodies was selected from an almost entirely independently published shortlist. The prize goes to the best work of translated fiction from around the world.

The publisher said it is preparing for its biggest ever print run of the book following the news.

The publisher was founded 16 years ago by Robert Davidson. It has published a number of highly successful books, including the English translation of crime novels that led to the hit German TV series "Babylon Berlin."