Archive for May 2015

2015 Read Russia Prize Announced

sharov__250The biennial Read Russia prize has been around since 2011 and still seems to be morphing a little every year. This year the prize has gone to a single translator, Oliver Ready, for his translation of Vladimir Sharov’s Before and During (Dedalus Books). This year, a pair of “special jury awards” also recognized the accomplishment of two other translators, both of whom turn out to have published new translations of Tolstoy’s classic novel Anna Karenina last year. Rosamund Bartlett’s translation was published by Oxford UP, and Marian Schwartz’s by Yale UP.

The Read Russia prize now comes with a $10,000 purse to be divided between translator and publisher at the discretion of the jury. For more information on the recipients of the awards, see the Read Russia website. Congratulations to all!

2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Winners

logo-2I’m delighted to see what a wonderful-sounding list of projects the jury for the 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grants have come up with. Each translator selected will receive a grant of $3100 to help with the completion of the project. The Fund was made possible by a generous donation from translator Michael Henry Heim and his wife, Priscilla Heim. For more information about the translators and their books, see the PEN American Center website.

2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant Recipients

Allison M. Charette for her translation of Beyond the Rice Fields, by Naivo. Set in the early 1800s, this historical novel uses dual narrators—a slave boy and his first owner—to depict the era when Madagascar was ruled by a monarchy and first being settled by Europeans. In a prose teeming with color and energy, Charette brings to life the first novel from Madagascar ever to be translated into English. (Available for publication)

Jennifer Croft for The Books of Jacob, the twelfth novel by Olga Tokarczuk, one of Poland’s most highly acclaimed contemporary novelists. Jennifer Croft’s translation brings to life the historical figure of Jacob Frank, Messianic leader of a mysterious 18th-century Jewish splinter group that believed in “purification through transgression.” (Available for publication)

Stephan Delbos and Tereza Novická for their translation of The Absolute Gravedigger, the culmination of Vítězslav Nezval’s work as the leading poet of Czech surrealism. Published in 1937, this book of poems is not only a dark and prescient avant-garde document of Europe in crisis, but highlights Prague as the twin capital of surrealism with Paris. Delbos and Novická do us all a service with their devoted translation. (Forthcoming from Twisted Spoon Press)

Amanda DeMarco for her translation of New Inventions and the Latest Innovations by Gaston de Pawlowski. First published in French in 1916, Pawlowski’s book is a catalog of absurd imaginary gadgets and “improvements,” an early satire on consumer society and the cult of the inventor. DeMarco’s translation perfectly captures the humor of a work that has only grown more relevant with time. (Forthcoming from Wakefield Press)

Adriana X. Jacobs for her translation of The Truffle Eye, the 2013 debut collection of poems by Vaan Nguyen. Born in Israel to Vietnamese refugees, Nguyen, writing in Hebrew, explores points of contact and friction between her Vietnamese heritage and her native-born Israeli identity. As Jacobs notes, the truffle resists domestication, and she skillfully incorporates this resistance into her inspired translation. (Available for publication)

Roy Kesey for The Cousins, by Aurora Venturini. An Argentinean novelist praised by Enrique Vila-Matas and Alan Pauls, Venturini was not discovered until she was eighty-five. This novel tells the story of a dysfunctional lower-middle-class family in La Plata during the nineteen-forties, and is fabulously translated by Roy Kesey. (Available for publication)

Lee Klein for Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in San Salvador, by Horacio Castellanos Moya. In what Roberto Bolaño called his best work, Castellanos invokes Bernhard’s most characteristic mode: the electrifying tirade. Lee Klein’s sinuous English proves that this rant is for anyone who feels let down by their native culture. (Available for publication)

Dong Li for his translation of The Gleaner Song, by Chinese poet Song Lin. In pieces selected by the poet and translator from thirty years of published work, the poet has engaged the world, East and West, creating a landscape of his extensive travels. Varying in form from short lyrics to long, serial poems, Song has, in the words of his accomplished translator, produced a “personal anthropology of our migratory world.” (Available for publication)

Meg Matich for her exquisite translations of Cold Moons, a collection of deceptively simple ecopoetry by Icelandic poet Magnús Sigurðsson who was born in 1984. She has deftly rendered the prosody of the young poet’s short, highly cadenced, enjambed verse in lines of images drawn from nature, often in the context of incursions by the modern world into this sparsely populated land of poets and sagas. (Available for publication)

Jacob Moe for his translation of Part Time Dragons by Maria Mitsora. Since the 1970s, Mitsora has been publishing short stories which refract modern Greek life through the lens of its mythological past. Part Time Dragons collects sixteen short stories from across Mitsora’s forty-year career, rendered in a lucid translation that preserves their essential strangeness. (Forthcoming from Yale University Press)

Rajiv Mohabir for his translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s Holi Songs of Demerara. Published in 1916, Sharma’s collection of folksongs is the only known literary work to be written by an indentured Indo-Caribbean writer. One of hundreds of Indians indentured to work the sugarcane fields in Guyana, Sharma’s mesmerizing songs, in Mohabir’s deft and elegant translation, tell of life on the plantations, of labor, love, loss, and longing. (Available for publication)

Takami Nieda for his translation of GO, by Kazuki Kaneshiro. GO is a testament to the universality of teenage experience and a window into the life of a zainichi Korean student. Takami Nieda’s fluid translation captures Kaneshiro’s humor and social criticism, evoking a distinct compelling voice in the tradition of Salinger and Sherman Alexie. (Available for publication)

Zoë Perry for Opisanie Świata, the award-winning debut novel by Brazilian writer Veronica Stigger. With her exquisite translation, Perry introduces to the English-speaking world a stunning and tantalizing novel by a young writer on the cutting-edge of Brazilian literature. (Available for publication)

Schutt for The Selected Poems of Edoardo Sanguineti. In his sparkling, playful and dynamic versions, Schutt introduces the English reader to the full sweep of Sanguineti’s protean oeuvre, from the neo-avantgardist of the early ’60s to the more introspective romantic poet of the later years. This is the first comprehensive English translation of one of post-war Italy’s most important poets. (Available for publication)

Sophie Seita for her translation of Subsisters: Selected Poems, by Uljana Wolf. Wolf’s globalized, border-crossing poetry seems uniquely disposed to translation while also presenting many challenges. Sophie Seita’s rendition remixes Wolf’s German-English mélange to create a translation that is at once new and yet also brilliantly reflects the original. (Forthcoming from Belladonna*)

Simon Wickhamsmith for The End of the Dark Era, by Mongolian poet Tseveendorjin Oidov. This book of about a hundred poems is one of the few avant-garde collections to come out of that region. Simon Wickhamsmith’s translations bring the poems across eloquently and beautifully. (Available for publication)

Congratulations too all the recipients! May all their projects get completed on schedule and find publishers.

2015 Best Translated Book Award Winners

11336913_865331576866451_8649647756198848577_oI’ve been tooling around England all week, so missed the chance to celebrate with and blog promptly about the winners of the 2015 Best Translated Book Award. So with no further ado, here are the winning books:

In Fiction: The Last Lover by Can Xue, translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen.

In Poetry: Diorama by Rocío Cerón, translated from the Spanish by Anna Rosenwong.

Each winning writer and translator will receive a cash award of $5000.

Given recent discussions about the relative paucity of female authors having their work selected for major translation prizes, I’m particularly delighted to see an all-women slate of winners this year. Big congratulations to Anna and Annelise!

Translation on Tap in NYC, June 1 – 15, 2015

I’m on my way to London to participate with Jenny Erpenbeck in an event on Tuesday at the London Review Bookshop for finalists for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize; the prize itself will be announced Wednesday evening U.K. time (wish me luck!) And when I get home I’ll be turning right around to travel to Vermont to teach in the first ever Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference. So I figured I’d better get this posted before it got lost in the whirlwind. Hope I didn’t leave anything out. These are all the early-June events I’ve heard about to date. (Oh, and don’t forget about the late-May lineup – there’s tons going on as we speak.)

SignTongueTuesday, June 9:

Prize Ceremony, Translation Prize of the French-American Foundation and the Florence Gould Foundation. Here’s the list of finalists. RSVP required, more information here. The Century Association of New York, 7 W. 43rd St., 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 14:

Release party for Sign Tongue by Enrique Winter, translated by David McLoghlin, winner of the 2014 Chapbook-in-Translation Contest from Menagerie. Winter and McLoghlin will be joined by Laura Sims. More info here. KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., 7:00 p.m.


2015 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize Shortlist

poster_oxford_translation_day_2015_2To my delight, my translation of Jenny Erpenbeck’s The End of Days has been named a finalist for the 2015 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. This annual prize honors the art of translation and is awarded during a day of workshops and talks called Oxford Translation Day – to be held June 13 this year (program here). Last year’s winner was Susan Wicks for her translation of Valérie Rouzeau’s Talking Vrouz.

So here’s the full list of finalists for the 2015 award:

Susan Bernofsky for Jenny Erpenbeck’s The End of Days (Portobello Books)

Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia for André Neuman’s Talking to Ourselves (Pushkin Press)

Euan Cameron for Jean-Michel Guenassia’s The Incorrigible Optimists Club (Atlantic Books)

Will Firth for Aleksandar Gatalica’s The Great War (Istros Books)

Anne Stokes for Sarah Kirsch’s Ice Roses (Carcanet Press)

Geoffrey Strachan for Jérôme Ferrari’s The Sermon on the Fall of Rome (MacLehose Press)

Stefan Tobler for Clarice Lispector’s Água Viva (Penguin Books)

Paul Vincent for Erwin Mortier’s While the Gods were Sleeping (Pushkin Press)

For more information on the books and the prize, see the website of St Anne’s College, Oxford.

Apply Now to Become a 2015 ALTA Fellow

ALTAlogoIf you’re an emerging translator, attending the American Literary Translators Association conference is one of the best things you can do to jump-start your career, especially if you land one of the coveted $1000 fellowships given out every year to help newcomers to the field attend. Everything I wrote about this last year still applies; and you can read here what last year’s fellows had to say about the experience, and last year’s program is still online. I even blogged the conference last year – here’s my report. This year’s conference will be held in Tucson, AZ, October 28 – 31, 2015, and will feature keynote addresses by Jerome Rothenberg and Stephen Snyder. If you’re new to this business, please take my word for it: attending the conference is a great way to meet other emerging translators as well as more experienced ones who can help you find your way in this field. The deadline to apply to become a 2015 ALTA Fellow is coming right up: June 1, 2015, so check out the guidelines and get your application in!

2015 PEN Translation Prizes Announced

If you’ve been on tenterhooks ever since the shortlists for the PEN Translation Prize and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation were made public last month, you’re in luck: this year’s winners have just been announced.Griswold_Picture and Bookpsd

The 2015 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation has gone to Eliza Griswold for I Am the Beggar of the World, a collection of work by Afghan women writers translated from the Pashto (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). More information about the book and the award (including the jNewman_ Photo & Bookpsdudge’s statement) here.

The 2015 PEN Translation Prize goes to Denise Newman for Baboon, translated from the Danish (Two Lines Press). More information about the book and the award (including the judges’ statement) here.

Each prize comes with a $3000 purse; both will be presented at a ceremony at the New School on June 8.

The winners of all the 2015 PEN literary prizes (even the non-translation ones) can be found here. Congratulations to this year’s winners!


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