Sinan Antoon’s Translation of ‘In the Presence of Absence’ Runner-up for PEN

The winners and runners-up of the 2012 PEN Awards were announced this week; among those noted was Sinan Antoon, for his translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence.

The winner of the $3,000 PEN Translation Prize — for a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2011 — was Bill Johnston, for his excellent translation of Wiesław Myśliwski’s Stone Upon Stone. This book also won the year’s Best Translated Book Award; it’s a wonderful read.

Judges Aron Aji, Donald Breckenridge, and Minna Proctor also named two runners-up: Margaret Jull Costa, for her translation of António Lobo Antunes’ The Land at the End of the World and Antoon, for his translation of In the Presence of Absence. 

According to the PEN release, winners and runners-up will be honored at the 2012 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at CUNY Graduate Center’s Proshansky Auditorium in New York City.

You can read two excerpts of Antoon’s translation:

One on the PEN blog, which begins: “In exile you choose a space to tame habit, a private space for your journal.”

One on Archipelago, which begins from the beginning.