First up is the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, which has a killer shortlist:
Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi (Action Books)
I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, edited and translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Juana Inés de la Cruz, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman (W. W. Norton & Company)
Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan, translated from the German by Pierre Joris (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Guantanamo by Frank Smith, translated from the French by Vanessa Place (Les Figues Press)
Interestingly, three of these titles—I Am the Beggar of the World, Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream, and Guantanamo—are on the Best Translated Book Award Poetry Longlist as well.
I want Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream and Don Mee Choi and Kim Hyesoon to win every literary prize possible, so I’m pulling for that. Although, there is a lot of stiff competition . . .
In the PEN Translation Prize, young presses—especially Two Lines—rule the shortlist:
The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla, translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush (New York Review Books)
The Symmetry Teacher by Andrei Bitov, translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt, translated from the Danish by Denise Newman (Two Lines Press)
Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa, translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee (Deep Vellum Publishing)
Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (Two Lines Press)
First of all, thank the judging gods (or just the judges themselves) that the I Ching didn’t make the list of finalists. (Not much of a fan of The Man Who Loved Dogs either to be honest.) I really like the mix that’s on this list—in part because these are all books I’ve read or plan on reading when I have time again.
Baboon is the only book on this list that made the BTBA Fiction Longlist, which is curious, but a good sign about the diversity of these sorts of awards.
I’m torn between rooting for Bromance Will and Texas and Naja, but since we’re doing Naja’s novel in the fall —”Rock, Paper, Scissors“:http://www.openletterbooks.org/products/rock-paper-scissors — I’m rooting for Baboon. Go Denmark!
The winners will be announced on May 15th.
Just a reminder for everyone out there that you have a few more days to submit to the 2013 PEN Literary Awards. From the email I just received:
Good news: there’s still time to submit to 2013 PEN awards before the deadline this Friday, February 1, 2013. If you haven’t already, submit today! Our awards program, the most comprehensive in the country, will present 17 awards in 2013. Send in your submissions or nominate a colleague to be considered for awards in the fields of fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, or poetry.
Visit here or write to email@example.com for more information.
FICTION AND NONFICTION
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000)
for an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work—a novel or collection of short stories published in 2012—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise
PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000)
for a book of essays published in 2012 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem of the essay form
PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000)
for a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2012
PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000)
for a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective published in 2011 or 2012
PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000)
for a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2012
PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award ($5,000)
for a distinguished biography published in 2012
PEN Open Book Award ($5,000)
for an exceptional work of literature by a writer of color published in 2012
PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000)
for an author of children’s or young adult fiction, who has published at least two books to complete a book-length work-in-progress
PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000)
for an American or U.S.-based writer for exceptional writing in an illustrated children’s book published in 2012
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000)
for a distinguished book of poetry in translation published in 2012
PEN Translation Prize ($3,000)
for a distinguished book-length prose translation published in 2012
PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants ($2,000–$4,000)
to support the translation of book-length works that have not previously appeared in English
PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an American Playwright in Mid-Career ($7,500)
for a dramatist whose literary achievements are vividly apparent in the rich and striking language of his or her work (letters of nomination may come from anyone in the literary community)
PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000)
for a writer whose body of work represents an exceptional contribution to the field (letters of nomination must come from PEN members)
PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry ($5,000)
for a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable presence in American literature (letters of nomination must come from PEN members)
PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing ($2,500)
for a magazine editor whose high literary standards and taste have contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits (letters of nomination must come from PEN members)
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .