The other day, PEN announced the winners of this year’s literary awards which range from the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing (which went to Dan Berry) to the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for a debut work (which went to Vanessa Veselka).
There are also a number of translation-related awards handed out which may interest a number of you:
PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2011. Judges: Aron Aji, Donald Breckenridge, and Minna Proctor.
WINNER: Bill Johnston, Stone Upon Stone by Wiesław Myśliwski (Archipelago Books)
(Ed. Note: TOTALLY CALLED IT! Stone Upon Stone won the Best Translated Book Award back in MAY. It’s also kind of interesting that the BTBA prize money for this—$10,000 split between author and translator—is significantly higher than PEN’s prize. That makes me feel pretty cool ⋯ the BTBAs are legit, yo. And more importantly, y’all should buy a Bill Johnston t-shirt. I wear mine all the time.)
Sinan Antoon, In the Presence of Absence by Mahmoud Darwish (Archipelago Books)
(Ed. Note: What is this, an Archipelago party?)
Margaret Jull Costa, The Land at the End of the World by António Lobo Antunes (W.W. Norton)
(Ed. Note: I love this book.)
PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation: To a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of his or her work. Selected by the PEN Translation Committee.
WINNER: Margaret Sayers Peden
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2011. Judge: Christian Hawkey.
WINNER: Jen Hofer, Negro Marfil/Ivory Black by Myriam Moscona (Les Figues Press)
Mark Ford, New Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel (Princeton University Press)
Susanna Nied, Light, Grass, and Letter in April by Inger Christensen (New Directions)
PEN/Edward and Lily Tuck Award for Paraguayan Literature ($3,000): To the author of a major work of Paraguayan literature not yet translated into English. Judges: Nancy Festinger, Laura Healy, and Gregary Racz.
WINNER: Delfina Acosta, Versos de amor y de locura (Editorial Servilibro)
PEN Translation Fund Grants ($1,000-3,000): To support the translation of book-length works into English. Judges: Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Edwin Frank, Michael F. Moore,* Michael Reynolds, Richard Sieburth, Eliot Weinberger, and Natasha Wimmer. (*Non-voting chair of the PEN Translation Fund Advisory Council.)
Bernard Adams, A hóhér háza (The Hangman’s House), a novel by Hungarian writer Andrea Tompa (from Hungarian)
Alexander Booth, in felderlatein (in field latin), a collection of poems by German poet Lutz Seiler (from German)
Brent Edwards, L’Afrique fantôme (Phantom Africa), an ethnographic study with autobiographic elements by the French writer Michel Leiris (from French)
Joshua Daniel Edwin, kummerang (gloomerang), the first book by young German poet Dagmara Kraus (from German)
Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Hoshruba: The Prisoner of Batin, an epic fantasy based on oral tradition by Indian writers Muhammad Husain Jah and Ahmed Husain Qamar (from Urdu)
Deborah Garfinkle, Worm-Eaten Time: Poems from a Life Under Normalization, a collection of banned poems originally circulated in samizdat copies by Czech poet Pavel Šrut (from Czech)
Hillary Gulley, El fin de lo mismo (The End of the Same), a novel by Argentine writer Marcelo Cohen (from Spanish)
Bonnie Huie, Notes of a Crocodile, the groundbreaking queer novel by Taiwanese writer Qiu Miaojin (from Chinese)
Jacquelyn Pope, Hungerpots, a collection of poems by Dutch poet Hester Knibbe (from Dutch)
Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad, Mirages of the Mind, a novel by Pakistani writer Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi (from Urdu)
Carrie Reed, Youyang zazu (Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang), a compendium from the Tang Dynasty by Duan Chengshi (from Chinese)
Nathanaël, The Mausoleum of Lovers, French novelist and AIDS activists Hervé Guibert’s posthumously published collection of private journals (from French)
Also, a special shout-out to Siddhartha Deb, who received the PEN Open Book Award “for an exceptional work of literature by an author of color published in 2011” for his work The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India.
Congrats to everyone!
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .