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2015 Best Translated Book Award finalists announced

May 5, 2015
collage of covers of lots of nominated book covers

Ten works of fiction and six poetry collections remain in the running for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards following the announcement of the two shortlists today on Three Percent, the University of Rochester’s translation-centric website.

“This year’s titles are translated from eight languages and eleven different countries,” said Chad W. Post, publisher of the University’s Open Letter Books. “Exactly half of the authors on the shortlists are women, and 15 different publishers have a book still in the running.”

The 16 finalists—consisting of well-established writers like Elena Ferrante, Julio Cortázar, Can Xue, Sergei Dovlatov, Valeria Luiselli, Bohumil Hrabal, Lev Rubinstein, Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Alejandra Pizarnik, and seven more—were selected from the almost 600 works of fiction and poetry published in English translation for the first time during 2014.

As in recent years, the Best Translated Book Awards are underwritten by’s giving programs, which allow both winning authors and winning translators to receive $5,000 cash prizes.

“By helping English-language readers discover international works of fiction and poetry, the Best Translated Book Award has become a champion of the art and craft of literary translation,” said Neal Thompson, Amazon’s senior director of author and publishing elations. “Amazon is proud to support this award and the fine work of this year’s winners.”

The winners will be announced at 2:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 27, as part of BookExpo America in New York City. Several fiction and poetry judges will participate on the panel, which will take place on the Eastside Stage. A celebration of the award will take place that evening at 5 p.m. at The Folly on 92 W. Houston St.

Past winners of the fiction award include: Seiobo There Below and Satantango, both by László Krasznahorkai, and translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet and George Szirtes respectively; Stone Upon Stone by Wiesław Myśliwski, translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston; and, The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal. Jansson and Teal are the only author and translator on this year’s fiction shortlist who have previously won the award.

Past winners of the poetry award include: The Guest in the Wood by Elisa Biagini, translated from the Italian by Diana Thow, Sarah Stickney, and Eugene Ostashevsky; Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stănescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter; and Spectacle & Pigsty by Kiwao Nomura, translated from the Japanese by Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander.

This year’s fiction jury is made up of: George Carroll, North-North-West and Shelf Awareness; Monica Carter, Salonica; James Crossley, Island Books; Scott Esposito, Conversational Reading and Center for the Art of Translation; Jeremy Garber, Powell’s Books; Katrine Øgaard Jensen, Asymptote; Madeleine LaRue, Music & Literature; Daniel Medin, American University of Paris, Cahiers Series, Quarterly Conversation, and the White Review; and Michael Orthofer, Complete Review.

The poetry jury includes: Biswamit Dwibedy, poet; Bill Martin, translator, critic, organizer of The Bridge; Dawn Lundy Martin, poet; Erica Mena, poet and translator; and Stefan Tobler, And Other Stories and translator.

The 2015 BTBA Fiction Finalists (in alphabetical order by author):

The Last Lover by Can Xue, translated from the Chinese
by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen. (China, Yale University Press)

The Author and Me by Éric Chevillard, translated from the French by Jordan Stump. (France, Dalkey Archive Press)

Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires by Julio Cortázar,
translated from the Spanish by David Kurnick. (Argentina, Semiotext(e))

Pushkin Hills by Sergei Dovlatov,
translated from the Russian by Katherine Dovlatov. (Russia, Counterpoint Press)

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein. (Italy, Europa Editions)

Things Look Different in the Light by Medardo Fraile, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. (Spain, Pushkin Press)

Harlequin’s Millions by Bohumil Hrabal, translated from the Czech by Stacey Knecht. (Czech Republic, Archipelago Books)

The Woman Who Borrowed Memories by Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal
and Silvester Mazzarella.
(Finland, NYRB)

Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli,
translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney. (Mexico, Coffee House Press)

La Grande by Juan José Saer,
translated from the Spanish by Steve Dolph. (Argentina, Open Letter Books)

The 2015 BTBA Poetry Finalists (in alphabetical order by author):

Diorama by Rocío Cerón,
translated from the Spanish by Anna Rosenwong. (Mexico, Phoeneme)

Lazy Suzie by Suzanne Doppelt,
translated from the French by Cole Swenson. (France, Litmus Press)

Where Are the Trees Going? by Venus Khoury-Ghata, translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker. (Lebanon, Curbstone)

Diana’s Tree by Alejandra Pizarnik,
translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert. (Argentina, Ugly Duckling)

Compleat Catalogue of Comedic Novelties by Lev Rubinstein,
translated from the Russian
by Philip Metres and Tatiana Tulchinsky. (Russia, Ugly Duckling)

End of the City Map by Farhad Showghi,
translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop. (Mexico, Germany, Burning Deck)

For more information, visit Three Percent, the official Best Translated Book Award site and the official BTBA Facebook page, and follow the award on Twitter. For detailed questions, contact Post at or 585.319.0823.

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Category: The Arts

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