English PEN’s Writers in Translation Winners: A European-language Heavy List

Moroccan writer Abdellatif Laâbi, writing in French, was one of 16 winners of a “PEN Translates” award, announced yesterday:

download (1)Although the list does include books originally written in the lesser-translated languages of Chinese, Turkish, and Gallegan (Galician), the majority are from the French (5), Spanish (3), and German (2), with additional titles from the Italian and two from the Portugeuse.

Within those languages, a diversity of nationalities, styles, and genres are represented, including the poetics of Abdellatif Laâbi in Selected Poems, translated by André Naffis-Sahely and set to be published by Carcanet in June 2016. Naffis-Sahely has previously won a Hemingway Grant to support the collection.

In a prepared release, Samantha Schnee, a trustee of English PEN and Chair of the Writers in Translation Committee, said that this most recent round of grants will enrich their “World Bookshelf” “even further, making our World Bookshelf an excellent resource for anyone wishing to explore the world through its finest contemporary literature — a boon to both armchair travellers and world travellers alike.”

Indeed, readers can “travel” from Colombia to China to the Congo, from Syria (in Jonthan Littell’s Syrian Notebooks) to Turkey to Morocco. But there is still a heavy concentration in just a few literary languages, without support for books from the Urdu, Hindi, Malayalam, Indonesian, Bengali, Vietnamese, Tamil, Farsi, and, all right, Arabic. It is a much different thing to engage a different language tradition vs. traveling with a writer to a different country.

Still, it is good to see more Chinese books receiving support in English translation, and there was also a Chinese winner among the “PEN Promotes” titles, A Perfect Crime, by A Yi, translated from the Chinese by Anna Holmwood and set to be published by Oneworld in May 2015.

Winners of a 2014 PEN Translates award:

  • Whispering City by Sara Moliner (pseudonym), translated from Spanish by Mara Lethem. Published by Little Brown. February 2015
  • Morning Sea by Margaret Mazzantini, translated from Italian by Ann Sarah Gagliardi. Published by Oneworld. March 2015
  • Gone to Ground by Marie Jalowicz Simon, translated from German by Anthea Bell. Published by Serpent’s Tail. March 2015
  • All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm, translated from German by Michael Hofmann. Published by Granta. March 2015
  • Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, translated from Chinese by Helen Wang. Published by Walker Books. April 2015.
  • What Became of the White Savage by Francois Garde translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins. Published by Dedalus. May 2015
  • Syrian Notebooks by Jonathan Littell, translated from French by Charlotte Mandell. Published by Verso. April 2015
  • Reckless by Hasan Ali Toptas, translated from Turkish by Maureen Freely and John Angliss. Published by Bloomsbury. March 2015
  • The Lights of Point-Noire by Alain Mabanckou, translated from French by Helen Stevenson Mann. Published by Serpent’s Tail. May 2015
  • The All Saints’ Day Lovers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated from Spanish by Anne McLean. Published by Bloomsbury. May 2015
  • Now and At the Hour of Our Death by Susana Moreira Marques, translated from Portuguese by Julia Sanches. Published by And Other Stories. September 2015
  • The Low Voices by Manuel Rivas, translated from Gallegan by Jonathan Dunne. Published by Harvill Secker. February 2016
  • The End of Eddy Belleguele by Edouard Louis, translated from French by Sam Taylor. Published by Harvill Secker. March 2016
  • Horse Hands by Daniel Galera, translated from Portuguese by Alison Entrekin. Published by Hamish Hamilton. March 2016
  • Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrique, translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer. Published by Harvill Secker. April 2016
  • Selected Poems by Abdellatif Laâbi, translated from French by André Naffis-Sahely. Published by Carcanet. June 2016

Winners of a 2014 PEN Promotes award:

  • These are the Names by Tommy Wieringa, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett. Published by Scribe UK. February 2015
  • Out in the Open by Carlos Carrasco, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. Published by Harvill Secker. April 2015
  • A Perfect Crime, by A Yi, translated from the Chinese by Anna Holmwood. Published by Oneworld. May 2015
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Categories: other literary prizes, translation

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