PEN Finalists: Translations of Mikhail’s ‘The Beekeeper’ & Bouanani’s ‘The Shutters’

Yesterday, PEN America announced the finalists for the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards. Arab and Arabic translations are finalists in two categories, the “PEN Award for Poetry in Translation” and the “PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction”:

Emma Ramadan’s translation of Ahmed Bouanani’s The Shutters made the poetry shortlist. The collection, by Moroccan cult-classic author and filmmaker Bouanani, was translated from the French.

The other four books on the shortlist were Aperture, Jacek Dehnel (Zephyr Press), translated from the Polish by Karen Kovacik; Today, Juan Gelman (co•im•press), translated from the Spanish by Lisa Rose Bradford; Negative Space, by Luljeta Lleshanaku (New Directions), translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika; and A Certain Plume, by Henri Michaux (NYRB), translated from the French by Richard Sieburth. The prize is for $3,000, and this year’s judges are Sinan Antoon, Ewa Chrusciel, Peter Filkins, and Katrine Øgaard Jensen.

You can hear ArabLit editor M Lynx Qualey read from The Shutters in Bulaq episode 24, which focused on Bouanani’s life and work.

Dünya Mikhail’s The Beekeeper, co-translated from the Arabic by Mikhail and Max Weiss, made the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction shortlist, along with four other books. They were: One Person, No Vote, Carol Anderson; American Prison, Shane Bauer (Penguin Press); Amity and Prosperity, Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux); and In a Day’s Work, Bernice Yeung (The New Press).

The winner of the nonfiction award receives $10,000. This year’s judges are Nana-Ama Danquah, McKenzie Funk, Syreeta McFadden, Christina Sharpe, and Linda Villarosa.

The winners will be celebrated at the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 26 in NYC.