Invisible Libraries, an ode to bibliophilia published by Yoda Press in 2016, has been named as one of three finalists for the 2017 Jan Michalski Prize in Literature. The book, written by Lawrence Liang, Monica James, Danish Sheikh, Amy Trautwein, and an anonymous author known only as “Another”, captures the “sensuous, enigmatic and aesthetic world of books and libraries”. The work of speculative fiction, permeated with the spirit of Jorge Luis Borges and inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, imagines fantastical libraries etched in ice, containing countless books, or eerily empty of them.
The Swiss literary award, founded in 2010, is given out every year by the Jan Michalski Foundation and is open to writers across the world, irrespective of language or genre. Intended to contribute to the “international recognition” of winning authors, the award comes with a cash prize of CHF 50,000 (Rs 33 lakh). Past winners include The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China by Julia Lovell and The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov.
The two other finalists for this year’s prize are Une histoire mondiale du communisme by the French writer Thierry Wolton and Die Wiedergeburt der Ameisen. Roman by Chinese author Liao Yiwu.