Yesterday, the US-based Best Translated Book Award (BTBA) released its poetry and fiction longlists:

nothingThe poetry list was announced first, at 10 a.m. EST, and it featured seventeen titles, including one from the Arabic: Najwan Darwish’s¬†Nothing More¬†to Lose,¬†translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid. The BTBA thus becomes the¬†first translation prize of 2015 to acknowledge the rich stream of Arabic poetry in translation from¬†2014, which included Fady Joudah’s marvelous version of Amjad Nasser’s Petra¬†and several¬†others.

The BTBA poetry prize — like the 2015 PEN poetry in translation prize¬†¬†— also longlisted¬†Where Are the Trees Going? by Lebanese poet Venus Khoury-Ghata, translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker.

There were several other BTBA-longlisted titles that overlapped with the PEN’s ten-title poetry longlist, including¬†Guantanamo by Frank Smith, translated from the French by Vanessa Place.

The largest number of titles on the BTBA poetry longlist were translated from the French, although there was also a collection translated from the Pashto, one from the Slovenian, one from the Korean, and one from Chinese. The poetry list looks to have work from a variety of traditions, styles, and languages.

BTBA fiction longlist: Spanish-heavy

The twenty-five-title fiction list was announced an hour later, at 11 a.m. EST. Although there was a good deal of overlap with the UK-based International Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) and the US-based PEN translation prize for prose, the BTBA had the most Spanish-language heavy list. The 2015 IFFP longlist was, meanwhile, German-heavy.

None of English’s¬†three big translation prizes — IFFP, PEN, or BTBA — selected any books translated from Arabic for their 2015 prose longlists.

Among prose works published last year were: Hassan Blasim’s short-story collection The Corpse Exhibition,¬†chosen as one of the¬†10 best of the year by¬†Publishers Weekly:¬†Jabbour Douaihy’s beautiful¬†June Rain,¬†translated by Paula Haydar;¬†African Titanics, by Abu Bakr Hamid Khaal, trans. Charis Bredin (only released in the UK);¬†Vols. 3 and 4. of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg over Leg,¬†trans. Humphrey Davies;¬†Amjad Nasser’s¬†Land of No Rain, beautifully translated by Jonathan Wright;¬†and Nael Eltoukhy’s wild, fun, and very Egyptian¬†Women of Karantina, translated by Robin Moger.

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