30 June 14 | Kaija Straumanis

On June 2nd, Luis Negrón’s Mundo Cruel (trans. Suzanne Jill Levine, pub. Seven Stories Press) was named recepient of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay General Fiction. Of great note is that this is the first time in Lambda Literary Award history (the first award ceremony was held in 1989) that a work of fiction in translation has won an award.

From the Seven Stories press release:

Nine short stories open a door into working class Santurce, Puerto Rico, where shoddy medical offices, Catholic churches, Mormon temples, and Santeria storefronts line the sunbaked streets. Here, a bumbling prostitute-turned-fugitive bewilderingly avoids capture. Back-biting mothers hand down judgment on their neighbors and the world at large from their front lawns. A desperate dog-owner will do anything to have his precious animal sent to a taxidermist. A young Chosen One with a curious gift helps his fellow parishioners find God.

Mundo Cruel, Luis Negrón’s debut book, elegantly presents to its readers a world both tragic and outrageous. Masterfully satirical with a discrete solemnity at its core, Mundo Cruel’s most remarkable element is its language. Several of its stories feature unnamed protagonists brought to life by their speech—colloquial, self-incriminating, and idiosyncratic—revealing Negron’s mesmerizing talent for conjuring the spoken word in all its subtlety.

LUIS NEGRÓN was born in the city of Guayama, Puerto Rico, in 1970. He is co-editor of Los otros cuerpos, an anthology of queer writing from Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora. The original Spanish language edition of Mundo Cruel, first published in Puerto Rico in 2010 by Editorial La Secta de Los Perros, then by Libros AC in subsequent editions, is now in its third printing. It has never before appeared in English. Negrón lives in Santurce, Puerto Rico.

SUZANNE JILL LEVINE’s acclaimed translations, which include works by Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Three Trapped Tigers) and Manuel Puig (Betrayed by Rita Hayworth), have helped introduce the world to some of the icons of contemporary Latin American literature. She is also editor of Penguin Classics’ essays and poetry of Jorge Luis Borges and the author of The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction. She is the winner of PEN USA’s Translation Award 2012 for her translation of Jose Donoso’s The Lizard’s Tale.

For a great interview with Suzanne Jill Levine on Mundo Cruel, go here.

For information on the history of the award, go here.

For more information on the award categories, go here.

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