I know you’ve been on tenterhooks ever since the 2014 BTBA finalists were announced two weeks ago, but now the wait is over; the award winners have just been posted on the Three Percent website. I am delighted to announce that the 2014 Best Translated Book Award in Fiction has been awarded to Ottilie Mulzet, translator of Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai (published by New Directions). This is the first time the same author has walked away with the gold two years in a row – an historic moment! – especially as last year’s winning Krasznahorkai novel, Satantango, also published by New Directions, was translated by someone else: Georges Szirtes. The Hungarian translators are on a roll! I’m also so pleased for New Directions, which has been one of my very favorite publishers ever since I was in short pants, i.e. years before I ever translated a book for them.
There are two runners-up for the Fiction BTBA, The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa, translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Gray and published by Yale University Press; and A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter and published by Other Press.
The Poetry BTBA has gone to Diana Thow, Sarah Stickney and Eugene Ostashevsky, translators of The Guest in the Wood by Elisa Biagini (published by Chelsea Editions). This isn’t the first time a team of translators has won in the poetry category – I think it’s the third, in fact, though both other times it was a team of two. There’s something miraculous about great poetry translation, and this repeated celebration of plurality is making me think it’s not coincidental that shared labor (and inspiration and brain-power), is a good way to coax poems from one language to another – helps with Ouija boards too.
The poetry runners-up are: Claude Royet-Journoud’s Four Elemental Bodies, translated from the French by Keith Waldrop, published by Burning Deck, and Sohrab Sepehri’s The Oasis of Now translated from the Persian by Kazim Ali and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, and published by BOA Editions.
The BTBA celebrates the work of foreign language writers as well as the translator’s art, so each winning author and translator (or team of translators) will receive a cash prize of $5000. This year’s awards both had very impressive shortlists, so particularly hearty congratulations are due to the winners. Can’t wait to read these books!
And if you’d like to toast the winning books and their authors and translators, come out to the BTBA Celebration Party on Friday, May 2, 2014 at The Brooklyneer, 220 West Houston Street, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.