2013 PEN Translation Awards

The PEN American Center has just released the names of its 2013 literary award winners. Here’s the winning translation line-up:

• The PEN Translation Prize was awarded to Donald O. White for his translation of The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen (Overlook Press). Runner-up is Katherine Silver for The Cardboard House by Martín Adán (New Directions).  The judges for this prize were Margaret Carson, Bill Johnston and Alex Zucker.

• The PEN Award for Poetry in Translation goes to Molly Weigel for her translation of The Shock of the Lenders and Other Poems by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books). There were two runners-up this year: Rosa Alcalá for Spit Temple by Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse) and Rosmarie Waldrop for Almost 1 Book/Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda (Burning Deck). This year’s judge was Don Mee Choi.

I am so happy to see books from these excellent smaller presses being honored. Action Books, Ugly Duckling Presse and Burning Deck are all run by teams of writer-translators who have been strong supporters of their fellow translators over the years, Overlook also publishes a good deal of work in translation, and of course New Directions is legendary as a publisher of international literature.

This is also an opportune moment for me to announce the winners of the 2013 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants. These are grants intended to support book-length works in progress, whether or not they already have publishers. Interested in publishing one of these great projects? See the PEN website, which contains more detailed information on each of these books, in particular which of them are still available for publication.

Daniel Borzutzky, El País de Tablas (The Country of Planks), a collection of poems by Chilean poet Raúl Zurita (from Spanish)

Isabel Cole, At the Burning Abyss, a genre-bending book by East German writer Franz Fühmann (from German)

Sean Cotter, Rakes of the Old Court, a novel by Romanian poet and prose writer Mateiu Caragiale (from Romanian)

Chloe Garcia Roberts, Escalating Derangements of My Contemporaries, a collection of poems by Classical Chinese poet Li Shangyin (from Classical Chinese)

Edward Gauvin, The Conductor and Other Tales, a collection of prose fiction by French screenwriter Jean Ferry (from French)

Eleanor Goodman, Something Crosses My Mind, selected poems by Chinese poet Wang Xiaoni (from Chinese)

Marilyn Hacker, The Bridges of Budapest, a collection of poetry by French journalist and poet Jean-Paul de Dadelsen (from French)

Elizabeth Harris, Tristano Dies, a novel by Italian fiction writer Antonio Tabucchi (from Italian)

Jennifer Hayashida, Vitsvit, a debut poetry collection by Athena Farrokhzad, a Swedish writer of Iranian descent (from Swedish)

Eugene Ostashevsky and Daniel Mellis, Tango with Cows, a futurist text by Russian poet and playwright Vasily Kamensky (from Russian)

Jeremy Tiang, Nine Buildings, a creative nonfiction text by Chinese playwright Jingzhi Zou (from Mandarin Chinese)

Annie Tucker, Beauty Is A Wound, a novel by Indonesian writer Eka Kurniawan (from Bahasa Indonesia)

Lara Vergnaud, France, récit d’une enfance (France, Story of Childhood), the final volume of an autobiographical trilogy by Algerian-born French writer Zahia Rahmani (from French)

One final announcement: Each year the Advisory Council for the PEN/Heim Translation Fund is invited to select one applicant who resides in New York State to be nominated for a larger ($5000) grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, which is then awarded in January of the following year. The 2012 nominee who was awarded the 2013 NYSCA translation grant is Iza Wojciechowska, for her translation of Farbiarka (The Dye Girl), by contemporary Polish poet Anna Piwkowska.

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