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European Literature Prize Longlist

At some point while I’m housebound thanks to the Colossal Snowpocalypse of the Century tm I’ll finish tweaking the write-up of the speech I gave in Amsterdam at the Nonfiction Conference, post part of that and write up some stuff about how fantastic this conference was. (If you look at the list of speakers you’ll immediately see why it was so interesting.)

Anyway, one of the random cool things that happened: At the coffee break on Saturday, moderator Maarten Asscher tole me about the “European Literature Prize,” a brand new award honoring the best Dutch translations of European literary novels—a prize modeled after the Best Translated Book Awards and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. It’s so, so cool that the IFFP spawned the BTBA, which led to the ELP . . .

This past Sunday they met to decide the twenty book longlist, which is printed below, along with their press release. (There are a few books here I’m really interested in—especially the Robles. And David Mitchell is one of my favorites . . .):

The longlist for the European Literature Prize was announced today. Thirteen independent Dutch and Flemish bookshops have selected the twenty best titles from among the European literary novels published in Dutch translation in 2010. The prize will be presented in early September during Manuscripta, the opening of the new Dutch book season.

The following twenty titles have been nominated (in alphabetical order by author):

  • Jij en ik (lo e te) by Niccolò Ammaniti, translated from the Italian by Etta Maris (Lebowski)
  • Staal (Acciaio) by Silvia Avallone, translated from the Italian by Manon Smits (De Bezige Bij)
  • Emmaüs by Alessandro Baricco, translated from the Italian by Manon Smits (De Bezige Bij)
  • HHhH by Laurent Binet, translated from the French by Liesbeth van Nes (J.M. Meulenhoff B.V.)
  • Wij drieën (The Three of Us) by Julia Blackburn, translated from the English by Paul van der Lecq (De Bezige Bij)
  • Waar de tijgers thuis zijn (Là où les tigres sont chez eux) by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès, translated from the French by Karina van Santen, Martine Vosmaer & Martine Woudt (Ailantus)
  • De Wetenden (Orbitor)_ by Mircea Cartarescu, translated from the Romanian by Jan Willem Bos (De Bezige Bij)
  • Kamer (Room) by Emma Donoghue, translated from the English by Manon Smits (Mouria)
  • Slapeloos (Andvake) by Jon Fosse, translated from the Norwegian by Marianne Molenaar (Wereldbibliotheek)
  • IJzig hart (El corazón helado) by Almudena Grandes, translated from the Spanish by Mia Buursma & Ans van Kersbergen (Signatuur)
  • Dat weet je niet (Det gør du ikke) by Jens Christian Grøndahl, translated from the Danish by Annelies van Hees (J.M. Meulenhoff B.V.)
  • Het sprookje van de laatste gedachte (Das Märchen vom letzen Gedanken) by Edgar Hilsenrath, translated from the German by Elly Schippers (Ambo І Anthos)
  • Een minuut stilte (Schweigeminute) by Siegfried Lenz, translated from the German by Gerrit Bussink (Uitgeverij Van Gennep)
  • De verborgen geschiedenis van Courtillon (Johannistag) by Charles Lewinsky, translated from the German by Elly Schippers (Signatuur)
  • De schending (La ofensa) by Ricardo Menéndez Salmón, translated from the Spanish by Bart Peperkamp (Wereldbibliotheek)
  • De niet verhoorde gebeden van Jacob de Zoet (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet) by David Mitchell, translated from the English by Harm Damsma en Niek Miedema
  • Drie sterke vrouwen (Trois femmes puissantes) by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jeanne Holierhoek (De Geus)
  • Zomerleugens (Sommerlügen) by Bernhard Schlink, translated from the German by Nelleke van Maaren (Cossee)
  • Halfschaduw (Halbschatten) by Uwe Timm, translated from the German by Gerrit Bussink (Podium)
  • De werkplaats van de duivel (Chladnou zemí) by Jáchym Topol, translated from the Czech by Edgar de Bruin (Ambo І Anthos)

The European Literature Prize will be awarded in 2011 for the first time, recognizing the best novel translated into Dutch from another European language and published in 2010. The winning author will receive the sum of €10,000. The prize is unusual in that it is also awarded to the translator of the chosen book; he or she will receive €2,500.

The professional jury is as follows:

Frans Timmermans, member of the House of Representatives, former Secretary of State for European Affairs (chairman)

Marja Pruis, writer and literary critic for De Groene Amsterdammer

Guido Snel, university lecturer University of Amsterdam, department of European Studies, writer and literary translator

Herm Pol, Athenaeum booksellers Amsterdam

Edith Aerts, bookstore De Groene Waterman, Antwerp

The jury will announce the shortlist at the end of April 2011. The European Literature Prize is an initiative of the Academic-Cultural Centre SPUI25, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer and Athenaeum Booksellers. The prize is sponsored in part by the following independent bookshops, which have also participated in the selection process:

Athenaeum Boekhandel, Amsterdam
Boekhandel de Groene Waterman, Antwerpen
Boekhandel De Omslag, Delft
Boekhandel H. de Vries, Haarlem
Boekhandel Het Martyrium, Amsterdam
Boekhandel Krings, Sittard
Literaire Boekhandel Lijnmarkt, Utrecht
Boekhandel Paagman, Den Haag
Boekhandel van Gennep, Rotterdam
Boekhandel Verkaaik, Gouda
Eerste Bergensche Boekhandel, Bergen N-H
Linnaeus Boekhandel, Amsterdam
Boekhandel Van Rossum, Amsterdam



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