This is really exciting news, and most likely Jon Fine and I are announcing this to the crowd at the ALTA conference right about now . . . I know the press release below is a bit stiff in comparison to the usual Three Percent post, but it has all the appropriate info about Amazon’s underwriting of the 2011 Best Translated Book Awards, which will finally allow us to award cash prizes to all the winners!
Also, if you’re a publisher/author/translator and want to submit a book for consideration, be sure to check out this page, where you’ll find the mailing addresses for all of the judges. More info on our judges and the award next week when I finally (hopefully) have a chance to post an update to the translation database. But for now, here’s the official press release . . .
October 20, 2010—Amazon.com has awarded the University of Rochester/Three Percent website a $25,000 grant in support of the 2011 Best Translated Book Awards. This grant will support $5,000 cash prizes for both the winning translators and authors.
Launched by Three Percent in 2007, the Best Translated Book Awards aim to bring attention to the best original works of international fiction and poetry published in the U.S. during the previous year. Judges base their decision on both the quality of the original work and the quality of the English translation. Until this year, however, the award carried no cash prize.
“Over the past few years, the awards have grown in stature, and the introduction of a cash prize for the winners will greatly enhance the reputation and reach of the award,” said Chad W. Post, director of Open Letter Books and Three Percent.
According to fiction panelist Matthew Jakubowski, “Without a doubt, this level of support for translated literature helps enrich book culture in our country. Publishers, authors, translators, and of course the growing number of readers attuned to new literature from around the world will benefit. And best of all, every year the BTBAs provide a great way to learn about dozens of great new books that we’d otherwise hear little about.”
On January 27, 2011, the twenty-five-title fiction longlist will be announced on the Three Percent and Best Translated Book Award websites, and over the following month each title will be individually highlighted through short write-ups by the various judges. The ten-title shortlists for both fiction and poetry will be announced on March 24th, and the winning titles will be celebrated at a special reception during the PEN World Voices Festival at the end of April.
Recent winners for fiction include Tranquility by Attila Bartis, translated from the Hungarian by Imre Goldstein (Archipelago), and The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu (Melville House). In poetry, The Russian Version by Elena Fanailova, translated from the Russian by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler (Ugly Duckling), received the award in 2010, and For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut by Takashi Hiraide, translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu (New Directions), received the award in 2009.
Information about how to submit a title for the 2011 Best Transalted Book Awards can be found on the BTBA website.
In addition to sponsoring the Best Translated Book Awards, Amazon.com has awarded grants to a diverse range of not-for-profit author and publisher groups dedicated to fostering the creation, discussion, and publication of new writing and new voices, including Ledig House, Milkweed Editions, Copper Canyon Press, Open Letter, Archipelago Books, PEN American Center, Words Without Borders, and the Center for the Art of Translation, all of which are committed to the international exchange of literature and the work of translators.
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .