University of Rochester

Fiction and Poetry Finalists Announced for the 2011 Best Translated Book Award

March 25, 2011

ROCHESTER, N.Y.— This morning, the poetry and fiction finalists for the 2011 Best Translated Book Awards were announced on Three Percent, the University of Rochester's translation-centric website. The annual award recognizes the best original translations of fiction and poetry from around the world. This year's list features authors from 19 countries writing in 12 languages.

"As in years past, the panels did a great job selecting their finalists," said Chad W. Post, director of Three Percent. "There's a lot of diversity here, in terms of original languages, in terms of style, in terms of original publication date, and in terms of reputation. These lists capture the wealth of exciting literature being produced outside our borders."

The Best Translated Book Awards launched in 2007 as a way of bringing attention to great works of international literature. Original translations (no reprints or retranslations) published between December 2009 and November 2010 are eligible for this year's award. Quality of the original book and the artistry of the English translation are the criteria used in determining the winning titles. The finalists and eventual winners are decided on by a panel of 14 judges.

The winners will be announced on Friday, April 29 at 9 p.m. at the Bowery Poetry Club as part of the PEN World Voices Festival, with a celebration to follow. More details about the Award Ceremony will be available in mid-April.

For the first time, thanks to the support of, each winning author and translator will receive a $5,000 cash prize. The Best Translated Book Award is one of several nonprofit programs supported by that is focused on bringing more great works from around the world to English-language readers. Other recipients include the Pen American Center Translation Fund, Words without Borders, Open Letter, the Center for the Art of Translation, Archipelago Books, and the Ledig House International Writers Residency.

This year's fiction judges are Monica Carter (Salonica World Lit), Scott Esposito (Conversational Reading and Center for the Art of Translation), Susan Harris (Words Without Borders), Annie Janusch (Translation Review), Matthew Jakubowski (writer and critic), Brandon Kennedy (bookseller/cataloger), Bill Marx (PRI's The World: World Books and The Arts Fuse), Michael Orthofer (Complete Review), and Jeff Waxman (Seminary Co-op and The Front Table).

The poetry judges are Brandon Holmquest (poet, translator, editor of Asymptote Journal), Jennifer Kronovet (poet, translator), Erica Mena (poet, translator, host of the Reading the World Podcast), Idra Novey (poet, translator, executive director of Literary Translation at Columbia), and Kevin Prufer (poet, academic, essayist).

The ten fiction finalists are (in alphabetical order by author):

The Literary Conference by César Aira,
Translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver
(New Directions)

The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz
Translated from the Czech by Andrew Oakland
(Dalkey Archive)

A Life on Paper by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud
Translated from the French by Edward Gauvin
(Small Beer)

The Jokers by Albert Cossery
Translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis
(New York Review Books)

Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck
Translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky (New Directions)

Hocus Bogus by Romain Gary (writing as Émile Ajar)
Translated from the French by David Bellos
(Yale University Press)

The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson
Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal
(New York Review Books)

On Elegance While Sleeping by Emilio Lascano Tegui
Translated from the Spanish by Idra Novey
(Dalkey Archive)

Agaat by Marlene Van Niekerk
Translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns
(Tin House)

Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer by Ernst Weiss
Translated from the German by Joel Rotenberg

The five poetry finalists are (in alphabetical order by author):

Geometries by Eugene Guillevic
Translated from the French by Richard Sieburth
(Ugly Ducking)

Flash Cards by Yu Jian
Translated from the Chinese by Wang Ping and Ron Padgett
(Zephyr Press)

Time of Sky & Castles in the Air by Ayane Kawata
Translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu
(Litmus Press)

Child of Nature by Luljeta Lleshanaku
Translated from the Albanian by Henry Israeli and Shpresa Qatipi
(New Directions)

The Book of Things by Aleš Šteger
Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry
(BOA Editions)

Overviews of the ten fiction finalists can be found at, and the five poetry finalists will be featured there and on Three Percent starting Monday, March 28. Also available on are promotional posters and shelf talkers that booksellers can download or request.