10 December 15 | Chad W. Post

This morning, PEN America released the longlist for their two annual translation prizes—the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and the PEN Translation Prize (for prose.)

I’m going to start by listing the PEN Translation Prize longlist, which includes an Open Letter title! This has never happened before, so I’m a little extra jazzed up today. (I’ll do the poetry separately, probably with fewer comments, since I’m a philistine.)

And yes, I know you could click the link above and get most of this same information, but I wanted to include links to all the books on the press’s actual websites, instead of the listings on Amazon/IndieBound. Plus, I thought I’d add some commentary.

The Sound of Our Steps by Ronit Matalon, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company)

Prior to this announcement, all I knew about this book is that the review copy is sitting next to Kaija’s desk awaiting assignment and that Dalya Bilu is a translation bad ass. Now I know that it features “Sammy, a gentle giant, almost blind, but a genius with welding.”

The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson (New Directions)

Is this the odds-on favorite to win? Yes, it is the odds-on favorite to win. (Especially since somehow Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth didn’t make it. That was the biggest shocker to me.)

The Blizzard by Vladimir Sorokin, translated from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

I wasn’t a huge fan of Sorokin’s Day of the Oprichnik (see this review), but I liked the Ice Trilogy more than most (and went bonkers with this piece) and fully intend to read this book. During a Rochester blizzard, naturally. With a lot of vodka. As you do. That said, can we finally get past this zombie thing? I’m so over it. I blame that Walking Dead abomination of a TV show for keeping this trend going way too long. Zombies are like the dabbing of monster tropes—now that Jerry Richardson is doing it, it’s not cool anymore.

Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell (AmazonCrossing)

This is huge for two reasons: It’s the first time I’ve seen an AmazonCrossing book up for a big translation award, and Bae Suah is about eleven months from taking the world by storm. (We’re bringing out her next novel next fall and everyone is going to go apeshit over it.) I love Bae and Sora Kim-Russell, which is why this is probably the most pleasant surprise to see on the list. I actually reviewed this one for list: Books from Korea.

The Game for Real by Richard Weiner, translated from the Czech by Benjamin Paloff (Two Lines Press)

Super intrigued by this title, which has been on my to read shelf for a while. Benjamin Paloff is a great translator, and the cover is pretty intriguing. I’m always attracted to books that are categorized as “dreamlike, anxiety-ridden fiction.” Which is maybe why my anxiety levels are so damn high. We should translate more sedate literature. Books about cats, perhaps.

Sphinx by Anne Garréta, ranslated from the French by Emma Ramadan (Deep Vellum Publishing)

Deep Vellum opened a bookstore yesterday! They also finally updated their website! Also, this is the first novel by a female member of the Oulipo to be translated into English. It will probably make the shortlist on that fact alone.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated from the Russian by Oliver Ready (Penguin Classic)

Just what the world needs now! A new translation of a Dostoevsky novel to go along with all the other new translations of Dostoevsky novels! I’m sure it’s great! But I’ll personally never read this book again. One and done, like Kentucky basketball.

The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel (Open Letter Books)

This should win. Obviously. Also, you can buy it now via our website for 40% off. Just use the code “BookSeason” at checkout.

Hollow Heart by Viola Di Grado, translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar (Europa Editions)

Another book I’m not familiar with, although I’m pretty sure that my heart is hollow. And filled with rage. I once met Antony in Turin, which is an incredible city. Watch, this is the book that will win, mostly because I’m too lazy to look up the description.

Paris Nocturne by Patrick Modiano, translated from the French by Phoebe Weston-Evans (Yale University Press/Margellos World Republic of Letters)

So many Modiano books! I went on and on about this on the last podcast, but my god are there so many of his books coming out. From so many presses! I’m actually looking forward to reading this and the one from HMH, but I’ll pass on the Other Press one. (Hey look, no Other Press books on the list!)


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
I Remember Nightfall
I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio
Reviewed by Talia Franks

I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio (trans. From the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas) is a bilingual poetry volume in four parts, consisting of the poems “The History of Violets,” “Magnolia,” “The War of the Orchards,” and “The Native. . .

Read More >

Joyce y las gallinas
Joyce y las gallinas by Anna Ballbona
Reviewed by Brendan Riley

This review was originally published as a report on the book at New Spanish Books, and has been reprinted here with permission of the reviewer. The book was originally published in the Catalan by Anagrama as Joyce i les. . .

Read More >

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

Hello and greetings in the 2017 holiday season!

For those of you still looking for something to gift a friend or family member this winter season, or if you’re on the lookout for something to gift in the. . .

Read More >

The Size of the World
The Size of the World by Branko Anđić
Reviewed by Jaimie Lau

Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, and hope of three generations of Belgraders.

The first and last sentences of the first. . .

Read More >

Island of Point Nemo
Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
Reviewed by Katherine Rucker

The Island of Point Nemo is a novel tour by plane, train, automobile, blimp, horse, and submarine through a world that I can only hope is what Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s psyche looks like, giant squids and all.

What. . .

Read More >

The Truce
The Truce by Mario Benedetti
Reviewed by Adrianne Aron

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009), Uruguay’s most beloved writer, was a man who loved to bend the rules. He gave his haikus as many syllables as fit his mood, and wrote a play divided into sections instead of acts. In his country,. . .

Read More >

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World
I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World by Kim Kyung Ju
Reviewed by Jacob Rogers

Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful absurdist poetry collection. It’s a mix of verse and prose poems, or even poems in the. . .

Read More >

Kingdom Cons
Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera
Reviewed by Sarah Booker

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally. . .

Read More >

The Invented Part
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of reading. Imagine how embarrassing it is when you, the reader, believe that you are engrossed in. . .

Read More >

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo
A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerriero
Reviewed by Emilee Brecht

Leila Guerriero’s A Simple Story: The Last Malambo chronicles the unique ferocity of a national dance competition in Argentina. The dance, called the malambo, pushes the physical and mental limits of male competitors striving to become champions of not only. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >