BTBA 2019: Juries, Dates, Request for Your Books

Earlier this week, Patrick Smith sent out the email below to as many publishers as possible, letting them know about this year’s Best Translated Book Award juries. In case you didn’t get this–or, if you’re a translator or author who wants to make sure your book is submitted–I’m reposting it all here.

(And, we will have a permanent BTBA page on the site in the near future. This was lost in the redesign, and summer has been more eventful and busy than anticipated. I am aware of the value of having a static page for the award though, and will get to this sooner rather than later. Until then, feel free to share this post with all your colleagues, publishers, friends, editors, etc.)


Award Dates

In terms of dates, this is subject to change, but currently we’re planning on announcing the longlists for fiction and poetry on Tuesday, April 10th, the finalists on Tuesday, May 15th, and the winners on Thursday, May 31st.



The Best Translated Book Award was founded in 2007 (making this its twelfth iteration) to draw attention to the best works of translated literature that came out the following year. The award’s emphasis is on the quality of the book and translation, with the argument that you can’t have a great work of literature without both of these aspects working at a very high level.

Starting with the 2009 award (all years given are for the year in which the winners are announced; the books are from the year previous), works of fiction and poetry were awarded separately. And beginning with the 2011 award, each winning author and translator received a $5,000 cash prize thanks to the Amazon Literary Partnership program. Thanks to this program, we have given out $125,000 in prizes to international authors and their translators.



Any work of translation published in English for the first time ever between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 is eligible for the award. A book that existed in English in a previous translation is not eligible, unless more than half of its content is new. (For example, a new collection of poems of which one-third appeared in an early translation would be eligible, but a novel with an extra ten pages added that were previously censored would not.) Books published in the UK are eligible if they are distributed in the U.S. through normal means. Self-published ebooks in translation are eligible if they have an ISBN and are available for purchase through more than one outlet.


Submission Process

To ensure that their books are given full consideration, publishers should send a copy to each of the judges in the appropriate category. Please write “BTBA 2019” on the front of the package. There are nine fiction judges and five poetry, but Open Letter’s offices are included as well for record-keeping purposes. There is no submission fee. Although e-versions are acceptable, they are not encouraged. Every book that’s submitted will be reviewed in full by at least one judge. Unlike past years, all of the 2019 judges are based in the U.S. to save publishers on shipping costs. Send the books now, but make sure you get them all in by December 31, 2018. Thanks!

Here are downloadable PDFs with all the info about both juries: BTBA 2019 Fiction Jury and the BTBA 2019 Poetry Jury.


Poetry Judges

This year’s poetry committee:

Jarod Annis is a writer and bookseller. He is the manager of Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, a board member for CLMP, and has previously served as an associate editor at Ugly Duckling Presse.

Katrine Øgaard Jensen is one of the founding editors of EuropeNow, a journal of politics and literature at Columbia University. She previously served as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal and blog editor of Asymptote and Words without Borders. Her translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s book-length poem Third-Millennium Heart (Action Books/Broken Dimanche Press 2017) was recently shortlisted for the 2018 Best Translated Book award and longlisted for the 2018 National Translation Award.

Tess Lewis is a writer and translator from French and German. She is co-chair of the PEN America Translation Committee and serves as an Advisory Editor for the Hudson Review. Her translations have won a number of awards including the 2015 ACFNY Translation Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Aditi Machado is the author of Some Beheadings and the translator of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia. She is the poetry editor at Asymptote and the visiting poet-in-residence at Washington University in St. Louis.

Laura Marris is a writer and translator. Her poems and translations have appeared in The Yale Review, The Brooklyn Rail, The Cortland Review, The VoltaAsymptote, and elsewhere. She is a MacDowell Colony fellow and the winner of a Daniel Varoujan Prize. Her recent translations include Louis Guilloux’s novel Blood Dark (New York Review Books), The Safe House by Christophe Boltanski (University of Chicago Press), and Paol Keineg’s Triste Tristan and Other Poems (co-translated with Rosmarie Waldrop for Burning Deck Press). She lectures in Creative Writing at Boston University, where she serves as the Director of the Favorite Poem Project.


Fiction Judges

This year’s fiction committee:

Pierce Alquist has a MA in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College and currently works in publishing in Boston. She is also a freelance book critic, writer, and Book Riot contributor. She can be found on Twitter @PierceAlquist and on Book Riot.

Caitlin Luce Baker is a book buyer for University Book Store in Seattle, WA. When not reading piles of books she can be found watching baseball, or wandering around Seattle taking pictures of weird things she finds.

Katarzyna (Kasia) Bartoszyńska is an English professor at Monmouth College, a translator (from Polish to English), most recently of Zygmunt Bauman’s Sketches in the Theory of Culture (Polity), and a former bookseller at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago.

George Carroll is a former bookseller and a West Coast representative for numerous publishers of translated literature. He is currently the curator of litintranslation.com.

Tara Cheesman is a blogger turned freelance book critic, National Book Critics Circle member & 2018 Best Translated Book Award Fiction Judge. Her reviews can be found online at The RumpusBook RiotLos Angeles Review of BooksQuarterly Conversation, 3:AM Magazine, et al. You can follow her on Twitter @booksexyreview and Instagram @taracheesman

Adam Hetherington is a reader from Tulsa.

Keaton Patterson, a lifelong Texan, has a MA in Literature from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. For the past five years, he has been the buyer at Houston’s Brazos Bookstore, where the promotion of literature in translation is always at the forefront of bookselling. He has a particular interest in fiction translated from Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Russian.

Sofia Samatar is the author of the novels A Stranger in Olondria and The Winged Histories, the short story collection, Tender, and Monster Portraits, a collaboration with her brother, the artist Del Samatar. Her work has received several awards, including the World Fantasy Award. She teaches African literature, Arabic literature, and speculative fiction at James Madison University.

Elijah Watson has been a bookseller at both A Room of One’s Own Bookstore and Books & Company. He is an avid reader of literature in translation.


Let the rampant speculation begin!


3 responses to “BTBA 2019: Juries, Dates, Request for Your Books”

  1. Khaled says:

    Does the book need to have been published in its original language.

  2. […] This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Elijah Watson. If you’re a publisher and haven’t submitted your titles for BTBA consideration, there’s still time! All the info can be found here. […]

  3. Shouyi Wang says:

    Is a book published in China eligible?

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