10 December 15 | Chad W. Post

Kaija Straumanis (our editor!) has won the 2015 AATSEEL award for the Best Translation into English for her translation from the Latvian of High Tide by Inga Ābele!

This isn’t on the AATSEEL website yet, but it was shared on the listserv, so I’m deciding that it’s public knowledge.

I’ll say more about the book in a minute, but first, I encourage you to click on that link above and see the competition that Kaija was up against. In terms of translators, Ellen Elias-Bursac, Marian Schwartz, Sean Cotter, Bill Johnston, Ross Ufberg, Robert and Elizabeth Chandler, Eugene Ostashevsky, and many more were finalists. Basically the cream of the crop when it comes to Eastern European and Slavic translators!

And the other authors! Books by Dostoevsky, Marek Hlasko, Vasily Grossman, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Tolstoy, are all on the list.

To be honest, I have no idea how this award is judged—based on the translation alone, or a combination of book and translation like the BTBAs. Either way, it’s amazing that Kaija and Inga won!

In terms of the book, here’s our jacket copy:

Told more or less in reverse chronological order, High Tideis the story of Ieva, her dead lover, her imprisoned husband, and the way their youthful decisions dramatically impacted the rest of their lives. Taking place over three decades, High Tide functions as a sort of psychological mystery, with the full scope of Ieva’s personal situation—and the relationship between the three main characters—only becoming clear at the end of the novel.

One of Latvia’s most notable young writers, Ābele is a fresh voice in European fiction—her prose is direct, evocative, and exceptionally beautiful. The combination of strikingly lush descriptive writing with the precision with which she depicts the minds of her characters elevates this novel from a simple story of a love triangle into a fascinating, philosophical, haunting book. 

It’s also worth noting that this was Kaija’s MA thesis here at the University of Rochester, which makes this all that more special, I think.

Everyone should send Kaija a congratulatory email, and purchase a copy of the book. If you buy it through out website, use the code “BookSeason” at check out and you’ll receive 40% off!

This is turning into a great week for Open Letter, our books, and our staff!


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