2014 National Translation Award Longlist Announced

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 11.57.11 PMThe American Literary Translators Association – for decades the main professional organization for literary translators in this country – has been institutionally in transition this year, moving its headquarters from Texas to Indiana. Its new board (of which Translationista is a member) is in the middle of working out ALTA’s new organizational identity, a process I expect to take all year. It’s an exciting time, and the upcoming ALTA conference in October sounds like it’s going to be a particularly exciting iteration. A new website is in the works too.

The National Translation Award is a longstanding ALTA tradition. Unlike most other multilingual translation prizes, the NTA includes a round of judging that involves comparing the translated book with its source text. You can imagine how complicated the logistics of this can get, but ALTA’s huge network of translators in a huge number of languages has made this feat possible year after year for sixteen years now. Feel free, though, to try to stump next year’s judging team with an excellent translation from a language not many people in this country know.

New ALTA will now be publishing longlists for the NTA each year, a development I am very happy to see. Longlists are a great idea. They are basically a set of recommendations for readers, lists of books the judging team liked. You’ll find the complete longlist on the ALTA website and also here below:

Poems of Consummation by Vicente Aleixandre
Translated from the Spanish by Stephen Kessler
(Black Widow Press)

Cavafy — Complete Plus by C.P. Cavafy
Translated from the Greek by George Economou
(Shearsman Books)

The Dark by Sergio Chejfec
Translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary
(Open Letter Books)

Theme of Farewell and After-Poems by Milo de Angelis
Translated from the Italian by Susan Stewart & Patrizio Ceccagnoli
(The University of Chicago Press)

Life’s Good, Brother by Nazim Hikmet
Translated from the Turkish by Mutlu Konuk Blasing
(Persea Books, Inc.)

Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets who Don’t Exist
by Agnieszka Kuciak
Translated from the Polish by Karen Kovacik
(White Pine Press)

A Treatise on Shelling Beans by Wiesław Myśliwski
Translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston
(Archipelago Books)

Between Friends by Amos Oz
Translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Girl with the Golden Parasol by Uday Prakash
Translated from the Hindi by Jason Gruenbaum
(Yale Univeristy Press)

The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa
Translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Gray
(Yale University Press)

Four Elemental Bodies by Claude Royet-Journoud
Translated from the French by Keith Waldrop
(Burning Deck)

Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Soseki
Translated from the Japanese by John Nathan
(Columbia University Press)

Crossings by Habib Tengour
Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker
(The Post-Apollo Press)

An Invitation For Me to Think by Alexander Vvedensky
Translated from the Russian
by Eugene Ostashevsky & Matvei Yankelevich
(New York Review Books)

A Schoolboy’s Diary by Robert Walser
Translated from the German by Damion Searls
(New York Review Books)

The organizers write: “Featuring authors from 15 countries writing in 11 languages, this year’s longlist illustrates the prize’s dedication to literary diversity, with works by both established and emerging authors, and by both established and emerging translators. […] This year’s finalist judges are Barbara Epler (Publisher, New Directions), Elaine Katzenberger (Publisher, City Lights) and Jessica Cohen (renowned translator from the Hebrew).”

I’d recommend you keep an eye on the NTA page of the ALTA website, because the prize’s organizers intend to keep the page updated with supplementary information on the longlist books by translators, reviewers and editors. Should be interesting.

Watch this space for the announcement of the shortlist in October. The award itself (which comes with a $5000 prize) will be announced at the conference in November. It’ll be held in Milwaukee this year, Nov. 12-15. See you there?

Oh, and congratulations to this year’s longlisted translators!

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