Future-focused ‘Palestine +100’ Wins PEN Translates Award

English PEN today announced the 16 books that won this year’s PEN Translates awards:

The 16 books come from 15 countries and 12 different languages. These include, according to a PEN statement, books translated from “Bosnian, Indonesian, Slovenian and Tamil, with the first ever novel from the Comoros Islands to be translated into English.”

The list also includes Palestine + 100, a collection of short stories expected from Comma Press in May 2019. The collection, edited by Basma Ghalayini, promises to feature stories from a range of writers, including: Talal Abu Shawish, Liana Badr, Selma Dabbagh, Samir El-Youssef, Anwar Hamed, Mazen Maarouf, Ahmed Masoud, Nayrouz Qarmout, and Rawan Yaghi.

Like Comma Press’s Iraq + 100the collection will be set 100 years after an important date. In this case, the stories will be set in 2048, 100 years after the Nakba. From Comma Press:

Palestine + 100 poses a question to contemporary Palestinian writers: what might your home city look like in the year 2048 – exactly 100 years after Nakba, the displacement of more than 700,000 people after the Israeli War of Independence? How might that war reach across a century of repair and rebirth, and affect the state of the country – its politics, its religion, its language, its culture – and how might Palestine have finally escaped it, and found its own peace, a hundred years down the line?

As well as being an exercise in escaping the politics of the present in a country which some have called ‘the largest prison in the world’, this anthology is also an opportunity for a hotbed of contemporary Arabic writers to offer their own spin on science fiction and fantasy.

According to PEN, their award winners are chosen “on the basis of outstanding literary quality, strength of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK.”

The other 15 PEN Translates award-winning titles for autumn 2018:

  • Mountain That Eats Men by Ander Izagirre, translated from Spanish by Tim Gutteridge. ZED Books, May 2019. Country of origin: Spain
  • My Mother Said by Chantal Ackerman, translated from French by Daniella Shreir. Silver Press, June 2019. Country of origin: Belgium
  • An Orphan World by Giuseppe Caputo, translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes and Juana Adcock. Charco Press, October 2019. Country of origin: Colombia
  • The Wandering by Intan Paramaditha, translated from Indonesian by Stephen J. Epstein. Harvill Secker, March 2020. Country of origin: Indonesia
  • Poems That the Wind Blew In by Karmelo C. Iribarren, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel. Emma Press, September 2019. Country of origin: Spain
  • A History of the World with the Women Put Back In by Kerstin Lücker and Ute Daenschel, translated from German by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and Jessica West. The History Press, September 2019. Country of origin: Germany
  • The Baby by Marie Darrieussecq, translated from French by Penny Hueston. Text Publishing, July 2019. Country of origin: France
  • When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back by Naja Marie Aidt, translated from Danish by Denise Newman. Quercus, March 2019. Country of origin: Denmark
  • Dawn by Selahattin Demirtaş, translated from Turkish by Amy Marie Spangler and Kate Ferguson. Hogarth, April 2019. Country of origin: Turkey
  • A Drop of Happiness by Selvedin Avdić, translated from Bosnian by Will Firth. Istros Books, March 2020. Country of origin: Bosnia
  • Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge, translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang. Tilted Axis, May 2020. Country of origin: China
  • Baron Wenkheim’s Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, translated from Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet. Tuskar Rock Press, November 2019. Country of origin: Hungary
  • Dreams by Rajathi Salma, translated from Tamil by Meena Kandasamy. Tilted Axis Press, October 2020. Country of origin: India
  • A Girl Called Eel by Ali Zamir, translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins. Jacaranda Books, 2019. Country of origin: Comoros Islands
  • The Fig by Goran Vojnović, translated from Slovenian by Olivia Hellewell. Istros Books, October 2019. Country of origin: Slovenia