Julia Franck was born in Berlin in 1970. Her novel The Blind Side of the Heart won the German Book Prize and sold over a million copies in Germany alone. It was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize, and was named one of the best books of the year by the Guardian and US magazine Kirkus Reviews. West is her third novel to be translated into English.
Anthea Bell was born in Suffolk, was educated at Somerville College, Oxford, and works as a translator, primarily from German and French. Her translations include works of non-fiction, literary and popular fiction, and books for young people including classic German works by the Brothers Grimm, Clemens Brentano, Wilhelm Hauff and Christian Morgenstern. She has been the recipient of a number of translation prizes and awards including the 1987 Schlegel-Tieck Award for Hans Berman's The Stone and the Flute, the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation for Christine Nï¿½stlinger's A Dog's Life, the 2002 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for her translation of W.G. Sebald's novel Austerlitz, and the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize in 2009 for How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone.