On International Translation Day (September 30), the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) announced the shortlist for their 2021 awards in poetry and prose:

The awards, now in their twenty-third year, are 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,” and selection criteria include both the finished book and quality of the translation.

Maghrebi works dominated this year’s poetry longlist; there were three on the 12-book longlist. Two of these have moved on to the six-book poetry shortlist: Samira Negroughe’s The Olive Trees’ Jazz and Other Poems, translated from French by Marilyn Hacker; and the anthology Poetic Justice: An Anthology of Contemporary Moroccan Poetry, translated from Arabic, French, and Tamazight by Deborah Kapchan with Driss Marjane.

On the six-book prose shortlist is Michael Cooperson’s translation of al-Ḥarīrī’s maqamat, titled Impostures.

You can find the complete shortlists at the ALTA website.

The winners will be announced at ALTA’s annual conference, set to be held virtually next month. The winning translators will receive a $2,500 cash prize each.

This year’s prose judges are Jennifer Croft, Anton Hur, and Annie Janusch. This year’s judges for poetry are Sinan Antoon, Layla Benitez-James, and Sibelan Forrester.

Also read:

Rebuilding that Old Tower of Babel, A Talk with Michael Cooperson

Algerian Writer Samira Negrouche on Her 3 Mother Tongues, Translating Poetry, and Collaborative Writing

On Translation, Collaboration, and ‘Exploring the Impossible Between Us’

‘Poetic Justice’: A Quarter Century of Collecting Moroccan Poetry

Also listen:

More about Impostures from Cooperson on a special episode of the Bulaq podcast.

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