I’m almost too excited to work the keyboard right now, because a book I translated, Memoirs of a Polar Bear by the amazing Yoko Tawada, just won the inaugural Warwick Prize for Women in Translation!!! The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation (you have to say its whole name to avoid ambiguity), is the first-ever prize to celebrate work in English translation by women authors, who have traditionally been direly underrepresented in the landscape of literary prizes. Having a prize just for them will help draw attention to all the gorgeous books written by women around the world every year. I’ve wanted for this to happen for ages, so would have been celebrating tonight regardless, but now I’m triply happy (the other 1/3 is because I love this book so much I can’t even tell you). I hope you’ll check out the novel, as well as the other beautiful books from this year’s stellar shortlist. And big gratitude to Chantal Wright and the entire Translation at Warwick and Warwick University team that made this prize a reality – not to mention all the fierce translationistas (see credits at the bottom of the official Warwick Prize website) of the U.K. who lobbied hard for several years to make this happen. I’m so delighted that there’s now a prize out there honoring Women in Translation, and look forward to celebrating many more longlists, shortlists, and prizewinners to come.
P.S. This prize is just for books published in the U.K.; Memoirs of a Polar Bear qualified only because Portobello co-published it with New Directions. We still need a Women in Translation Prize for books published in the U.S. Who’s going to start one?
P.P.S. Here’s Katy Derbyshire’s report on the prize ceremony, including a lot of background on the lobbying that got the prize established in the first place.