The PEN American Center and PEN USA (see this blog post on the relationship between them) are both part of an international network of PEN programs which also, not surprisingly, includes one based in the U.K. Like both its U.S. counterparts, English PEN gives prizes for literary works in English translation, though English PEN’s prizes are designed to provide financial support for the publishers of the selected translators rather than the translators themselves – though of course being chosen is a considerable honor, and the prize money is intended to help with the marketing and promotion of the book in question, so let’s hope all these translators have contracts including a provision for royalties so they’ll benefit directly. This year’s prizes have just been announced. According to the press release, this award “uniquely recognises translated works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry which contribute to inter-cultural understanding and promote freedom of expression.” And with no further ado, here are this year’s prize winners:
• The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees, translated from the Arabic by Max Weiss, Pushkin Press
• Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, Granta Books
• F: Hu Feng and Our Prison Years by Mei Zhi, translated from the Chinese by Gregor Benton, Verso
• Horses of God by Mahi Binebine, translated from the French by Lulu Norman, Granta Books
• Writing Revolution: The Voices from Tunis to Damascus ed. Leyla Al-Zubaidi, Matthew Cassel and Nemonie Craven Roderick, translated from the Arabic and French by Robin Moger, I B Tauris
• The Devil’s Workshop by Jachym Topol, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker, Portobello Books
Big congratulations to all the translators whose work was honored!