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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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)
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. . .