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!
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .
I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .
Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .