2020 PEN Translation Prize Longlists Announced

PEN America has just announced the longlists for the 2020 PEN Translation Prize (for a book-length work of translated fiction) and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (for a book of translated poems). Each prize comes with a purse of $3000. This year’s jury in fiction includes Sean Gasper Bye, Jim Hicks, Geoffrey C. Howes, Sara Khalili, Elizabeth Lowe, Jenny McPhee; the poetry jury is comprised of Michael Eskin, Forrest Gander, and Pierre Joris.

PEN Translation Prize Semifinalists:

  • When Death Takes Something From You Give It Back: Carl’s Book, Naja Marie Aidt (Coffee House Press)
    Translated from the Danish by Denise Newman
  • If You Cross the River: A Novel, Geneviève Damas (Milkweed Editions)
    Translated from the French by Jody Gladding
  • Happiness, as Such, Natalia Ginzburg (New Directions Publishing)
    Translated from the Italian by Minna Zallman Proctor
  • The Ten Loves of Nishino, Hiromi Kawakami (Europa Editions)
    Translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell
  • Beyond Babylon, Igiaba Scego (Two Lines Press)
    Translated from the Italian by Aaron Robertson
  • The Dead Wander in the Desert, Rollan Seisenbayev (Amazon Crossing)
    Translated from the Russian by Olga Nakston and John Farndon
  • Flowers of Mold & Other Stories, Ha Seong-nan (Open Letter Books)
    Translated from the Korean by Janet Hong
  • At Dusk, Hwang Sok-yong (Scribe US)
    Translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel, Olga Tokarczuk (Riverhead Books)
    Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
  • The Scent of Buenos Aires: Stories, Hebe Uhart (Archipelago Books)
    Translated from the Spanish by Maureen Shaughnessy

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation Semifinalists:

  • Time, Etel Adnan (Nightboat Books)
    Translated from the French by Sarah Riggs
  • Final Matters: Selected Poems, 2004-2010, Szilárd Borbély (Princeton University Press)
    Translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
  • Poems in Absentia & Poems from The Island and the World, Pedro da Silveira (Tagus Press)
    Translated from the Portuguese by George Monteiro
  • Treasure of the Castilian or Spanish Language, Sebastián de Covarrubias Horozco (New Directions Publishing)
    Translated from the Spanish by Janet Hendrickson
  • Room in Rome, Jorge Eduardo Eielson (Cardboard House Press)
    Translated from the Spanish by David Shook
  • Daybook 1918: Early Fragments, J.V. Foix (Northwestern University Press)
    Translated from the Catalan by Lawrence Venuti
  • Killing Plato, Chantal Maillard (New Directions Publishing)
    Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert
  • The Winter Garden Photograph, Reina María Rodríguez (Ugly Duckling Presse)
    Translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen
  • Songs from a Single Eye, Oswald von Wolkenstein (New Directions Publishing)
    Translated from the German by Richard Sieburth
  • What We Live For, What We Die For: Selected Poems, Serhiy Zhadan (Yale University Press)
    Translated from the Ukrainian by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps

The gender balance among the original-language writers on these two lists is striking: the prose list is 80% female, the poetry list 30% female; the prose jury is split down the middle between men and women, while the poetry jury is 100% male. Without surveying the full list of books submitted for each prize, I can’t say whether or not these proportions reflect the distribution of the books submitted. Given the long historical trend of prize juries favoring works originally authored by men, a mostly-male list and a mostly-female list are not parallel phenomena. I have to admit I was surprised to see an all-male roster for the poetry jury; I didn’t think we were doing that anymore. (Of course, it’s always possible there was originally a female jury member appointed who had to step down midstream or something; these things do happen; if so, it’s a shame she wasn’t replaced; representation matters.)

In any case, congratulations to all the translators who were named semifinalists for these two awards! The shortlists will be announced in January. For more information on the prizes and the longlisted books, please visit the PEN America website.

Share this!

Comments are closed.

© Susan Bernofsky 2010-2018. All rights reserved. "Translationista" is a registered trademark.

shares