Shortlists Announced for 2019 PEN Translation Prizes

PEN America has just announced the finalists for the PEN Translation Prize (for a book-length work of prose in translation) and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (both for books published in 2018). The judges this year are Ezra Fitz, Barbara Harshav, Vincent Kling, Marian Schwartz, Ron Slate (prose) and Sinan Antoon, Ewa Chrusciel, Peter Filkins, Katrine Øgaard Jensen (poetry). Each comes with a purse of $3000. Here are the finalists:

PEN Translation Prize:

  • Nevada Days, Bernardo Atxaga (Graywolf Press)
    Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
  • Disoriental, Négar Djavadi (Europa Editions)
    Translated from the French by Tina Kover
  • The Stone Building and Other Places, Aslı Erdoğan (City Lights)
    Translated from the Turkish by Sevinç Türkkan
  • Love, Hanne Ørstavik (Archipelago Books)
    Translated from the Norwegian by Martin Aitken
  • Trick, Domenico Starnone (Europa Editions)
    Translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation:

  • The Shutters, Ahmed Bouanani (New Directions)
    Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan
  • 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, Luljeta Lleshanaku (New Directions)
    Translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika
  • A Certain Plume, Henri Michaux (NYRB)
    Translated from the French by Richard Sieburth

In prose, I’m tickled to see the large overlap (3 out of 5 books) with the National Book Award shortlist this year.

You’ll find more information about the shortlisted books and the prizes themselves on the PEN America website, along with links to purchase the books via Hudson Booksellers, which is partnering with PEN. I was curious whether this meant that the finalists would be featured and available for purchase at Hudson’s many airport and train station stores (that would be so great) and wrote to PEN last week to ask, but have received no reply, so probably it’s an online-only deal, which means that Hudson must have made a donation to PEN to trigger this “partnership.” Which is fine, but remember that Hudson (a big corporate chain of stores) is not the same as your local bookshop, so I encourage you to use the Indiebound links also provided on the PEN website to purchase your books online if you can’t do so in person. And if you’re traveling and spot any of the PEN finalists featured in an airport bookstore, please let me know!

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