This year, PEN Translates is giving awards to twenty different books from eighteen countries and eleven languages:
This marks the largest number of books PEN Translates has selected in a single year. Two of the winners will be translated from Arabic — a short-story collection by Najwa Binshatwan to be translated by Sawad Hussain, and a collection of poetry to be translated by Paul Batchelor and Atef Alshaer — and one Moroccan writer, Aziz BineBine, will be translated from the French by Lulu Norman.
A collection of Darwish’s poems has previously been translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid (Nothing More to Lose, 2014), and Bin Shatwan has a novel forthcoming in Nancy Roberts’ translation in 2020 (The Slave Yards).
There is also a short story by Binshatwan, translated by Hussain, in the forthcoming ArabLit Quarterly.
Books are chosen for PEN Translates awards, according to organizers, on the basis of “outstanding literary quality, the strength of the publishing project, and their contribution to UK bibliodiversity.” Daniel Hahn was chair of this year’s PEN Translates Selection Panel, and he said in a prepared statement:
With each round, this our fifteenth, PEN Translates receives an ever-greater number of more competitive, more promising, more diverse submissions, from terrific publishers of all sizes who, even in a risk-averse business, continue to look out at the world with ambition. These twenty titles add to the bibliodiversity that UK readers can enjoy in twenty quite different ways. Each selected title is a work of translated literature English PEN is proud to be associated with, and I’m delighted we’re able to help them into the market. Like many other curious readers, I’ll be awaiting them eagerly.
The full list of 2019 PEN Translates award winners:
Why I No Longer Write Poems by Diana Anphimiadi, translated from the Georgian by Jean Sprackland and Natalia Bukia-Peters. Poetry Translation Centre, October 2020. Country of origin: Georgia.
Tazmamart (Tazmamort) by Aziz BineBine, translated from the French by Lulu Norman. Haus Publishing, April 2020. Country of origin: Morocco.
Catalogue of a Private Life (كتالوج حياة خاصة) by Najwa Binshatwan, translated from the Arabic by Sawad Hussein. Dedalus Africa, October 2020. Country of origin: Libya.
Embrace by Najwan Darwish, translated from the Arabic by Paul Batchelor and Atef Alshaer. Poetry Translation Centre, June 2020. Country of origin: Palestine.
Liminal by Laura Fusco, translated from the Italian by Caroline Maldonado. Smokestack Books, April 2020. Country of origin: Italy.
Ankomst by Gøhril Gabrielsen, translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin. Peirene, June 2020. Country of origin: Norway.
Black Box by Ito Shiori, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell. Tilted Axis, August 2020. Country of origin: Japan.
Notes from Childhood by Norah Lange, translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Whittle. And Other Stories, February 2021. Country of origin: Argentina.
War Trilogy by Agustín Fernández Mallo, translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead. Fitzcarraldo, March 2021. Country of origin: Spain.
Portrait of My Double: Four Novellas by Georgi Markov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel. Penguin Classics, February 2021. Country of origin: Bulgaria.
Jefferson by Jean-Claude Mourlevat, translated from the French by Ros Schwartz. Andersen Press, August 2020. Country of origin: France.
Empty Houses by Brenda Navarro, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes. Daunt Books, October 2020. Country of origin: Mexico.
Damaris by Pilar Quintana, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman. World Editions, August 2020. Country of origin: Colombia.
Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated from the Hindi by Daisy Rockwell. Tilted Axis, March 2021. Country of origin: India.
Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney. Charco Press, June 2021. Country of origin: Cuba.
Rolling Fields by David Trueba, translated from the Spanish by Rahul Bery. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, June 2020. Country of origin: Spain.
Co-Wives, Co-Widows by Adrienne Yabouza, translated from the French by Rachael McGill. Dedalus Africa, June 2020. Country of origin: Central African Republic.
Gwangju Diary by Hwang Sok Yong, translated from the Korean by Slin Jung. Verso, May 2021. Country of origin: South Korea.