Author Samar Yazbek and translator Leri Price have made the five-book shortlist of the 2021 National Book Award in the “Translated Literature” category:

The pair are have made the prize’s 5-book shortlist for the luminous, synesthesiatic Planet of Clay (المشاءة). Yazbek’s novel follows a wise-fool character who can’t stop walking and remembering as she makes her way through the devastated and devastating landscape of the Syrian civil war.

Planet of Clay joins novels translated from the French, Spanish, and Chinese on the 2021 shortlist. Price is on the National Book Award shortlist for a second time; previously, she was shortlisted, in 2019, for her translation of Khaled Khalifa’s Death is Hard Work.

The judges for the category this year are Stephen Snyder, Jessie Chaffee, Sergio de la Pava, Madhu H. Kaza, and Achy Obejas.

The rest of the five-book shortlist:

Elisa Shua Dusapin, Winter in Sokcho
Translated from the French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins
Open Letter

Ge Fei, Peach Blossom Paradise
Translated from the Chinese by Canaan Morse
New York Review Books

Nona Fernández, The Twilight Zone
Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
Graywolf Press

Benjamín Labatut, When We Cease to Understand the World 
Translated from the Spanish by Adrian Nathan West
New York Review Books

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