The EBRD Literature Prize, presented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in partnership with the British Council, honors an outstanding work of literature translated into English from one of the languages of the 40 countries in which the bank does business. The prize – with a €20,000 purse to be split between author and translator – was established in 2017. And this year’s installment has just been awarded, in a ceremony in London on March 7, to The Devil’s Dance by Hamid Ismailov (Tilted Axis Press), translated from Uzbek by Donald Rayfield (with John Farndon). This novel is apparently the first ever to be translated from Uzbek into English, and it sounds pretty amazing. Rosie Goldsmith, chair of this year’s jury, describes the book as “an Uzbek ‘Game of Thrones.'” For a description of the novel and more information about the prize, visit the European Literature Network website.
Honorable mentions (€2,000 split between author and translator) were awarded to Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena, translated from Latvian by Margita Gailitis (Pereine Press) and Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions).
And last year’s (2018) EBRD Literature Prize (since I missed it) went to Istanbul Istanbul, a novel by Burhan Sönmez translated from Turkish by Ümit Hussein (Telegram Books, now reprinted by OR Books in the U.S.).
Congratulations to all the translators (and authors) whose work was honored!