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!
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
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. . .