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2015 PEN Literary Awards Shortlists

A month or so after the longlists were announced, PEN has announced the finalists for all of their literary prizes, including two translation-specific ones.

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First up is the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, which has a killer shortlist:

Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi (Action Books)

I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, edited and translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Juana Inés de la Cruz, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman (W. W. Norton & Company)

Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan, translated from the German by Pierre Joris (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Guantanamo by Frank Smith, translated from the French by Vanessa Place
(Les Figues Press)

Interestingly, three of these titles—I Am the Beggar of the World, Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream, and Guantanamo—are on the Best Translated Book Award Poetry Longlist as well.

I want Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream and Don Mee Choi and Kim Hyesoon to win every literary prize possible, so I’m pulling for that. Although, there is a lot of stiff competition . . .

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In the PEN Translation Prize, young presses—especially Two Lines—rule the shortlist:

The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla, translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush (New York Review Books)

The Symmetry Teacher by Andrei Bitov, translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt, translated from the Danish by Denise Newman (Two Lines Press)

Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa, translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee (Deep Vellum Publishing)

Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (Two Lines Press)

First of all, thank the judging gods (or just the judges themselves) that the I Ching didn’t make the list of finalists. (Not much of a fan of The Man Who Loved Dogs either to be honest.) I really like the mix that’s on this list—in part because these are all books I’ve read or plan on reading when I have time again.

Baboon is the only book on this list that made the BTBA Fiction Longlist, which is curious, but a good sign about the diversity of these sorts of awards.

I’m torn between rooting for Bromance Will and Texas and Naja, but since we’re doing Naja’s novel in the fall —”Rock, Paper, Scissors“:http://www.openletterbooks.org/products/rock-paper-scissors — I’m rooting for Baboon. Go Denmark!

The winners will be announced on May 15th.



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