5 July 12 | Chad W. Post

The twelve recipients of this year’s PEN Translation Fund were announced last week, and since I can’t find it on their website, I’m just posting the complete list below. Bunch of interesting sounding projects—Hillary Gulley’s and Bonnie Huie’s caught my eye (the latter for the use of the term “mash note,” WHICH I LOVE)—from a mix of experienced and young translators.

These winners were selected from a pool of 130 applicants, which is pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.

Anyway, here’s the full list of winners:

Bernard Adams for his translation of Andrea Tompa’s A Hóhér Háza (The Hangman’s House), a poignant and beautiful novel about a girl growing up in a Romanian-Hungarian family during the 70s and 80s in Ceauşescu’s Romania. The translation combines a fine-fingered attention to detail with a powerful emotional sweep. (Available for publication)

Alexander Booth for Im Felderlatein (In Latin Fields) by Lutz Seiler. Widely acknowledged as one of the major German poets of his generation, the work of Seiler has been translated only sporadically. Booth’s translations give a strong sense of Seiler’s poetic voice, with an incessant use of fragmentation as he attempts to pin down memory (usually childhood memory, sometimes of traumatic events) and the stark imagery of his terse lines. (Available for publication)

Brent Edwards for L’Afrique Fantome (Phantom Africa) by Michel Leiris. A diaristic account of Leiris’s activities as the “secretary-archivist” of Marcel Griaule’s Mission Dakar-Djibouti (1931-33), often compared to Lévi-Strauss’s Tristes Tropiques as introducing a path-breaking critical self-reflexivity into the discourse of anthropology. (Seagull Books)

Joshua Daniel Edwin for the first book of a young German poet Kummerang (Gloomerang) by Dagmara Kraus. These translations display an explosive inventiveness and poetic intelligence that finds surprising, engaging ways to render poems. They appeal as much through their sly punning and syncopated rhythms as they do through the stories told between the lines. (Available for publication)

Musharraf Ali Farooqi for his translation from the Urdu of Muhammad Husain Jah and Ahmed Husain Qamar’s Hoshruba: The Prisoner of Batin, the second volume of an 8000-page late-nineteenth century epic of magical fantasy based on the popular oral narrative tradition. (Random House India.)

Deborah Garfinkle for her translation of Worm-Eaten Time: Poems from a Life Under Normalization by the Czech poet Pavel Šrut. A selection of hallucinatory poems, banned by the government and circulating in samisdat, written during the Prague Spring of 1968 and then, after a ten-year silence, in the 1980s before the fall of Communism. (Available for publication)

Hillary Gulley for the translation of Marcelo Cohen’s El Fin de Los Mismo (The End of the Same), a formal experimentation and sci-fi-inflected mini-plots – a prison on the beach, a man in love with a woman with three arms – shape this finely wrought Argentinean novel. (Available for publication)

Bonnie Huie for her translation of Notes of a Crocodile by the Taiwanese writer Qiu Miaojin. The only novel published by Qiu before her suicide at 26, this work is an extraordinary combination of mash note, love story, comic shtick, aesthetic manifesto, and spiritual autobiography. It is a path-breaking queer novel and a classic of modern Taiwanese literature. (Available for publication)

Nathanaël for the Mausoleum of Lovers by Hervé Guibert, a posthumous collection of the private journals that the well-known novelist and AIDS activist kept from 1976-1991—a series of literary snapshots of the author’s various objects of desire and mourning and already a classic of French autobiography. (Nightboat Books)

Jacquelyn Pope for her translation of Hester Knibbe’s Hungerpots, from the Dutch. These wry, unsentimental poems gently upend myths of domestic life and wax anti-poetically (yet beautifully) on the most ordinary manifestations of nature. (Available for publication)

Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad for a delightfully light-on-its-feet translation of the novel Mirages of the Mind by Urdu writer Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi. Tracing an arc of nostalgia between Pakistan and India, its main characters are all Indian Muslim immigrants to Pakistan whose struggles veer from the comic to the tragic. The translators’ touch is graceful, lively, and supple. (Available for publication)

Carrie Reed for a complete translation of Yǒuyáng Zázǔ (Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang) by Duan Chengshi. A vast compendium from the Tang Dynasty of weird scientific and ethnographic information and generally strange stories. (Available for publication)

If you’re interested in getting information about any of these, you can contact Paul Morris (paul[at]pen.org) and Michael Moore (michael.moore[at]esteri.it) and they can pass along samples and contact info.

UPDATE: The PEN Translation Fund winners’ announcement blog post has been found and added to this article.


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