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Some Clues About the BTBA Fiction Finalists

Patrick Smith deserves all the credit for coming up with these clues about which books made the shortlist for fiction for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards.

As you may already know, the BTBA finalists will be officially unveiled tomorrow, Tuesday, May 15th at 10am Eastern over at The Millions. (And the winners will be unveiled on Thursday, May 31st following the 4:30 pm panel on “Translated Literature Today” at the New York Rights Fair and at The Millions.)

As always, the first person to guess all ten fiction finalists on their first try by emailing me at chad.post [a] rochester.edu will will a year’s subscription to Open Letter Books. Here’s the longlist, and here are some clues:

  • There are 7 different publishers represented on the shortlist;
  • Authors originate from 8 different countries;
  • These authors represent 6 different languages;
  • Only 1 author has passed away;
  • Using both the author’s names and book titles, the only letter that doesn’t make an appearance is Q;
  • The average page length of the finalists is 306.7;
  • Of the finalists, 3 of the books were published in their original language before 2010;
  • Including authors and translators, there are 9 women and 11 men on the shortlist.

There you go! Speculate away! Lobby for your favorites on Twitter (#BTBA2018)! Get ready to argue tomorrow when the ten titles (and six poetry collections) are unveiled!

* * *

Speaking of poetry, I’m willing to give out a subscription if you can name all six of these books on your first try as well.

The clues aren’t as inventive here (I’m technically on a conference call as I write this, so . . . ), but there are also far fewer books on the poetry longlist.

  • The finalists hail from 6 different countries (a first in BTBA history?);
  • The finalists are all translated from different languages (wow);
  • Only one press has two books on this list of finalists.

Good luck!



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