Humphrey Davies’ Translation of al-Shidyaq’s ‘Leg Over Leg’ Makes 2016 NTA Longlist

Humphrey Davies’ translation of the sharp-eyed, satirical, outside-its-time Leg Over Leg (1855), by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, has made this year’s 2016 National Translation Awards (NTA) longlist:

Leg_over_leg34The NTA, sponsored by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA), yesterday announced the longlists for both its poetry and prose awards.

This is the award’s eighteenth year, but just the second for separate prizes in poetry and prose. The NTA prides itself on being “the only national award for translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction that includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work.” Other awards, such as the Best Translated Book Award (BTBA), render judgement based on the quality of the English product.

Leg Over Leg also made the BTBA shortlist in 2014.

The year’s two longlists feature works in 13 languages, with an emphasis on French (three), Spanish (five), Portugeuse (two), Russian (two), and German (two).  This year’s poetry judges are Adriana Jacobs, Karen Kovacik, and Cole Swensen, while the year’s prose judges are Karen Emmerich, Andrea Labinger, and Marian Schwartz.

The winning translators, which will be announced in early October, will receive a $2,500 cash prize each. The five-title shortlists will be announced in September.

Last year’s National Translation Award went to William Hutchins’ translation, from the Arabic, of Ibrahim al-Koni’s New Waw: Saharan Oasis.

From prize organizers:

The 2016 NTA Longlist in Poetry (in alphabetical order by title):

Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems
By Jürgen Becker (Germany)
Translated from the German by Okla Elliott
(Black Lawrence Press)

I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky
By Arseny Tarkovsky
Translated from the Russian by Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev
(The Cleveland State University Poetry Center)

By Frédéric Forte (France)
Translated from the French by Daniel Levin Becker, Ian Monk, Michelle Noteboom, Jean-Jacques Poucel
(Burning Deck)

Rilke Shake
By Angélica Freitas (Brazil)
Translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan
(Phoneme Media)

Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du Mal
By Charles Baudelaire (France)
Translated from the French by Jan Owen
(Arc Publications)

The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems
By Natalia Toledo (Mexico)
Translated from the Isthmus Zapotec and Spanish by Clare Sullivan
(Phoneme Media)

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa
By Chika Sagawa (Japan)
Translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu
(Canarium Books)

The Country of Planks
By Raúl Zurita (Chile)
Translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky
(Action Books)

This Blue Novel
By Valerie Mejer Caso (Mexico)
Translated from the Spanish by Michelle Gil-Montero
(Action Books)

White Blight
By Athena Farrokhzad (Sweden)
Translated from the Swedish by Jennifer Hayashida
(Argos Books)

The 2016 NTA Longlist in Prose (in alphabetical order by title):

Adventures in Immediate Irreality
By Max Blecher
Translated from the Romanian by Michael Henry Heim
(New Directions)

Leg over Leg
By Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (Lebanon)
Translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies
(Library of Arabic Literature/NYU Press)

Lovers on All Saints’ Day
By Juan Gabriel Vasquez
Translated from the Spanish by Ann Maclean
(Riverhead Books)

Stammered Songbook: A Mother’s Book of Hours
By Erwin Mortier (Belgium)
Translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent
(Pushkin Press)

The Blizzard
By Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)
Translated from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector
By Clarice Lispector (Brazil)
Translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson
(New Directions)

The Hotel Years
By Joseph Roth
Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
(New Directions)

The Meursault Investigation
By Kamel Daoud (Algeria)
Translated from the French by John Cullen
(Other Press)

The Physics of Sorrow
By Georgi Gospodinov (Bulgaria)
Translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
(Open Letter Books)

The Story of My Teeth
By Valeria Luiselli (Mexico)
Translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
(Coffee House Press)

Tristano Dies: A Life
By Antonio Tabucchi (Italy)
Translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris
(Archipelago Books)