In just a couple of weeks—on Tuesday, March 29th at 10am to be precise—we’re going to announce the longlist for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards for fiction and poetry. Between now and then, I want to put up a few posts about the award, the titles that might make the list, other trends, etc. But I thought I’d start with some general information.
First off, as in years past, Amazon is sponsoring this as part of their Amazon Literary Partnership program. Their $25,000 means that the winning authors and translators will each receive $5,000, with the remaining $5,000 being split up among the fourteen judges.
In terms of dates, the longlists will be announced on Tuesday, March 29th, with the finalists being revealed on Tuesday, April 19th, and the winners will be announced the evening of Wednesday, May 4th, both on The Millions and in person at The Folly. (More details to come.) (And stay tuned for info about a bookseller-centric BTBA event during BEA in Chicago.)
If you want to know what books are eligible, download this But here are a few statistics:
Bean counting doesn’t really give us any indication of what titles might make the longlist, but it is sort of interesting to look at. Starting with the next post, I’ll try and break this down a bit more, looking at potential favorites, big name authors who have a book in the game this year, and more.
It’s worth pointing out now that I have absolutely no knowledge of what the judges are discussing or planning on including. I’m not part of their email/Slack conversations, haven’t talked to any of them about specific books, and will be as surprised as everyone else when the lists are unveiled. Which is why it’s the perfect time to start speculating . . . Post your own guesses below. Curious to see what titles everyone else thinks are worthy.
1 I’m really surprised at how different these two lists are. And by the diversity in country of origin for poetry in translation. It’s also worth noting that Italy and Germany are the only countries to appear on both these lists. Germany you might have guessed, but Italy?
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .