The 10 fiction finalists and six poetry finalists in the running for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award were announced Wednesday. The books were originally published in 11 languages, and were narrowed down from a longlist announced in March.
The finalists include a Nobel Prize winner -- Herta Muller -- and a number of authors less well-known in the U.S. One of the goals of the prize is to bring more attention to works in translation, which are sometimes overlooked by American readers.
Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. In 2009, “Tranquility” by Attila Bartis, translated from the Hungarian by Imre Goldstein, won the BTBA for fiction; one of the books it beat was Roberto Bolano’s “2666,” which reached American bestseller lists. Other winners of the BTBA’s include the novel “Stone Upon Stone” by Wieslaw Mysliwski, translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston (Archipelago Books), the poetry collection, “The Russian Version” by Elena Fanailova, translated from the Russian by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler (Ugly Duckling Presse), and the novel “The True Deceiver” by Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal (New York Review Books).
The BTBA prizes award $5,000 each to both the original author and the translator of the book. It’s one of the projects supported by Amazon’s grantmaking program.
The complete finalist list is below.
“The Planets” by Sergio Chejfec, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary (Open Letter Books; Argentina)
“Prehistoric Times” by Eric Chevillard, translated from the French by Alyson Waters (Archipelago Books; France)
“The Colonel” by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, translated from the Persian by Tom Patterdale (Melville House; Iran)
“Satantango” by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes (New Directions; Hungary)
“Autoportrait” by Edouard Levé, translated from the French by Lorin Stein (Dalkey Archive Press; France)
“A Breath of Life: Pulsations” by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Johnny Lorenz (New Directions; Brazil)
“The Hunger Angel” by Herta Müller, translated from the German by Philip Boehm (Metropolitan Books; Romania)
“Maidenhair” by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz (Open Letter Books; Russia)
“Transit” by Abdourahman A. Waberi, translated from the French by David Ball and Nicole Ball (Indiana University Press; Djibouti)
“My Father’s Book” by Urs Widmer, translated from the German by Donal McLaughlin (Seagull Books; Switzerland)
“Transfer Fat” by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson (Ugly Duckling Press; Sweden).
“pH Neutral History” by Lidija Dimkovska, translated from the Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid (Copper Canyon Press; Macedonia).
“The Invention of Glass” by Emmanuel Hocquard, translated from the French by Cole Swensen and Rod Smith (Canarium Books; France).
“Wheel with a Single Spoke” by Nichita Stanescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Archipelago Books; Romania).
“Notes on the Mosquito” by Xi Chuan, translated from the Chinese by Lucas Klein (New Directions; China).
“Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life” by Elfriede Czurda, translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop (Burning Deck; Austria)