Announcing the 2017 BTBA Longlists for Fiction and Poetry

March 28, 2017 | 15 books mentioned 3 4 min read

Listed below are the 35 titles on this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlists for fiction and poetry — the 10th time that these lists have been released. And the sixth year in which, thanks to an Amazon Literary Partnership, the winning authors and translators will each receive $5,000 cash prizes.

Founded in 2008 by Three Percent at the University or Rochester, the award has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. The focus on finding the best books in translation from the past year has been constant, but the pool of eligible titles has expanded from 360 in 2008 to more than 600 for this year’s award. For these longlists, the 14 judges — nine for fiction, five for poetry — considered works written by authors from 87 countries in 54 different languages, and published in English by 179 distinct presses.

This increase in the number of books coming out is incredibly impressive, but so is the fact that so many more translators are getting their works published in comparison to a few years back. Reflecting that, of the 40 translators included on these longlists, 29 (73 percent) are receiving this honor for the first time ever.

In short, it’s an exciting time for international literature, and the breadth and diversity of these longlists reflect that. From established authors like Javier Marías to new voices like Basma Abdel Aziz, from works of speculative fiction like Wicked Weeds to family sagas from Senegal like Doomi Golo, there’s something on here for every type of reader.

To help you find the books that you most want to read, Three Percent will be running short “Why This Book Should Win the BTBA” posts for all 35 titles over the next few weeks as we build up to the announcement of the finalists on Tuesday, April 18. (Also right here at The Millions.)

For more information on the award, it’s history, the judges, etc., please visit the official Best Translated Book Award site and the official BTBA Facebook page, and follow the award on Twitter.

Best Translated Book Award 2017: Fiction Longlist

covercovercoverThe Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette (Egypt, Melville House) (read Abdel Aziz’s Year in Reading)

The Young Bride by Alessandro Baricco, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy, Europa Editions)

Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya, translated from the Spanish by Jessica Powell (Dominican Republic, Mandel Vilar Press)

covercovercoverChronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson (Brazil, Open Letter Books)

On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain, New Directions)

Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi, translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman (Mauritius, Deep Vellum)

covercovercoverZama by Antonio di Benedetto, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen (Argentina, New York Review Books)

A Spare Life by Lidija Dimkovska, translated from the Macedonian by Christina Kramer (Macedonia, Two Lines Press)

Doomi Golo by Boubacar Boris Diop, translated from the Wolof by Vera Wülfing-Leckie and El Hadji Moustapha Diop (Senegal, Michigan State University Press)

covercovercoverNight Prayers by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis (Colombia, Europa Editions)

Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap, translated from the German by Tess Lewis (Germany, Archipelago Books) (read our review)

War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans, translated from the Dutch by David McKay (Belgium, Pantheon)

covercovercoverUmami by Laia Jufresa, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes (Mexico, Oneworld)

Last Wolf and Herman by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes and John Batki (Hungary, New Directions)

Oblivion by Sergi Lebedev, translated from the Russian by Antonina W. Bouis (Russia, New Vessel Press)

covercovercoverThus Bad Begins by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain, Knopf)

In the Café of Lost Youth by Patrick Modiano, translated from the French by Chris Clarke (France, New York Review Books)

Ladivine by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (France, Knopf)

covercovercoverAmong Strange Victims by Daniel Saldaña Paris, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Mexico, Coffee House Press)

Moonstone by Sjón, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (Iceland, FSG)

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky (Japan, New Directions)

covercovercovercoverVampire in Love by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain, New Directions)

My Marriage by Jakob Wassermann, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann (Germany, New York Review Books)

Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto, translated from the Japanese by Asa Yoneda (Japan, Counterpoint Press)

Super Extra Grande by Yoss, translated from the Spanish by David Frye (Cuba, Restless Books)

Best Translated Book Award 2017: Poetry Longlist

covercovercoverBerlin-Hamlet by Szilárd Borbély, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet (Hungary, New York Review Books)

Of Things by Michael Donhauser, translated from the German by Nick Hoff and Andrew Joron (Austria, Burning Deck Press)

Instructions Within by Ashraf Fayadh, translated from the Arabic by Mona Kareem, Mona Zaki, and Jonathan Wright (Palestine, The Operating System)

covercovercoverCheer Up, Femme Fatale by Yideum Kim, translated from the Korean by Ji Yoon Lee, Don Mee Choi, and Johannes Göransson (South Korea, Action Books)

In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi, translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith (Morocco, Archipelago Books)

covercovercoverExtracting the Stone of Madness by Alejandra Pizarnik, translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert (Argentina, New Directions) (read our review)

Thief of Talant by Pierre Reverdy, translated from the French by Ian Seed (France, Wakefield Press)

tasks by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, translated from the Spanish by Katherine M. Hedeen (Cuba, co-im-press)

covercoverBuilding the Barricade by Anna Świrszczyńska, translated from the Polish by Piotr Florczyk (Poland, Tavern Books)

Antígona González by Sara Uribe, translated from the Spanish by John Pluecker (Mexico, Les Figues Press)




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  1. So exciting! I have read two of the novels: The Queue and LaDivine. Both were amazing. Hats off to Three Percent. This award is one of the good things happening in the world these days, of which there are way too few.

  2. What a treasure of books. Thanks to The Millions for posting this and to Three Percent (weird, I thought Three Percent was no longer on line). This acknowledgement of books in translation is truly heartening and appreciated. Sergi Lebedev is mind blowing. There are so many great books in translation that afford us another’s world view. I am grateful for Presses like Pushkin, Dalkey and Europa to remind me that the human condition is is global. We are all one people.

  3. I hope WICKED WEEDS does not win this award or even make the short list. How much longer can we continue to perpetuate the racist trope of Haitian zombies? Haitians are not just zombies. We have other aspects to our history, religions, spirituality, and culture. Wicked Weeds offer nothing deeper than provocation and further stigmatization of Haitian people and their already misunderstood beliefs. Why did this writer not do something new and write about a zombie from his own culture? Now that would have been interesting and, frankly, a lot more insightful and original. This is not just cultural criticism or a criticism of misguided appropriation, but also of a hackneyed narrative that is badly and lazily written.

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