This morning, PEN America announced the winners of all its literary awards, including two for literature in translation: the PEN Translation Prize for a book-length translation of prose into English, which was won by BTBA judge Tess Lewis for her translation of Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap, and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, which was won by Simon Armitage for translating Pearl: A New Verse Translation from Middle English.
Additionally, the PEN Heim Awards were handed out to fifteen translators for a wide variety of projects:
Floral Mutter by YA Shi (哑石) translated from the Chinese by Nick Admussen
The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky by Misumi Kubo, translated from the Japenese by Polly Barton
The Palimpsests by Aleksandra Lun, translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer
Felix Austria by Sophia Andrukhovych, translated from the Ukrainian by Vitaly Chernetsky
Mr. by Raoul Schrott, translated from the German by Iain Galbraith
Edinburgh Notebook by Valerie Mejer Caso, translated from the Spanish by Michelle Gil-Montero
The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes
Thirteen Months of Sunrises by Rania Mamoun, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette
The Arab by Pooneh Rohi, translated from the Swedish by Kira Josefsson
I Didn’t Talk by Beatriz Bracher, translated from the Portuguese by Adam Morris
A Parade by Nhã Thuyên, translated from the Vietnamese by Kaitlin Rees
Wûf by Kemal Varol, translated from the Turkish by Dayla Rogers
In Your Name by Mauro Covacich, translated from the Italian by Christopher Tamigi
There’s a Carnival Today by Indra Bahadur Rai, translated from the Nepali by Manjushree Thapa
This Land That Is Like You by Tobie Nathan, translated from the French by Joyce Zonana
Pascal Quignard’s __The Hatred of Music_ is the densest, most arcane, most complex book I’ve read in ages. It’s also a book that covers a topic so basic, so universal—almost primordial—that just about any reader will be perversely thrilled by. . .
In Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Flaubert attempted to highlight the ordinary, tired, and often crass nature of common expressions by italicising them within the text. When Charles, Emma Bovary’s mediocre husband, expresses himself in a manner akin to that of. . .
Eliot Weinberger takes big strides across literary history in his genuinely breathtaking short work, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, tracking translations of a short ancient Chinese poem from the publication of Ezra Pound’s Cathay in 1915 to Gary. . .
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
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. . .