And the Winners of the 2018 Best Translated Book Awards Are…

May 31, 2018 | 2 books mentioned 3 min read


The 11th annual Best Translated Book Awards were announced this evening at the New York Rights Fair. The Invented Part by  Rodrigo Fresán, translated by Will Vanderhyden, won for fiction. Before Lyricism by Eleni Vakalo, translated by Karen Emmerich, took the prize for poetry.
Here are the jury’s statements:


“The Invented Part weaves together the intellectual, the emotional, and the aesthetic as one, resulting in an entertaining, playful, sorrowful, and joyful novel that shows there is new ground to be found in the novel, new structures to be built. To find those structures takes daring and the risks Fresán takes both narratively and stylistically pay off. This book is as generous as it is challenging, as nostalgic as it is hopeful. Rodrigo Fresán is a master, and Will Vanderhyden brings that mastery and all the nuance that comes with it into English. They are a perfectly matched pair, and The Invented Part is an astounding start to this trilogy.”

“Before Lyricism is a captivating collection of poetry as well as an awe-inspiring feat of translation. Eleni Vakalo makes her readers hear and see the images written on the page; the book creates its own world around you as you read. Vakalo pushes the Greek language to its limits, stretching its syntax and playing up its room for ambiguity. Karen Emmerich spent over a decade translating these poems and finding ways for English, normally so resistant to ambiguity, to open up and allow for a similar, unsettling abstraction. The end result is nothing short of miraculous and an absolute pleasure to read in English translation.”

This year’s fiction jury is made up of: Caitlin Luce Baker (University Book Store, Seattle), Kasia Bartoszyńska(Monmouth College), Tara Cheesman-Olmsted (Reader at Large), Lori Feathers (Interabang Books), Mark Haber (writer, Brazos Bookstore), Adam Hetherington (author), Jeremy Keng (reader, freelance reviewer), Bradley Schmidt (translator), and P.T. Smith (Ebenezer Books, The Scofield). The poetry jury includes: Raluca Albu (BOMB), Jarrod Annis (Greenlight Bookstore), Tess Lewis (writer and translator), Aditi Machado (poet and translator), and Emma Ramadan (translator, Riffraff Bookstore). 

We announced the longlist and finalists here at the site earlier this spring.

More praise from the fiction judges, this from Caitlin Luce Baker: “The Invented Part is a generous, heady, big hearted read. Bouncing from referencing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, to Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, and The Kinks. The Invented Part dazzles. The Invented Part reminded me what a book can do. Thanks to Rodrigo Fresán for writing, Will Vanderhyden for translating, and Open Letter for publishing the book that broke reading for me. Special shoutout to The Kinks for playing in my head as I read The Invented Part.”

Adam Hetherington: “The Invented Part does everything at once, and in a thoroughly modern way that satisfies me like few books ever have. You could take half the blurbs ever written and stick them on this back cover. This thing is absolutely bananas.”

Mark Haber: “A book as generous and warm-hearted as it is intelligent and daring. The Invented Part seems to create (and warrant) the rules of its own existence; a book almost impossible to describe, yet not because it’s difficult, but rather by the sheer dimensions it contains. The book’s obsessions – writers, films, musicians, science fiction – to the eternal questions of love, mortality and illness are integrated seamlessly. The translation by Will Vanderhyden is remarkable and alive, a reminder of what a truly good translator is capable of doing.”

Thanks to grant funds from the Amazon Literary Partnership, the winning authors and translators will each receive $5,000 cash prizes. Three Percent at the University of Rochester founded the BTBAs in 2008, and over the past seven years, the Amazon Literary Partnership has contributed more than $140,000 to international authors and their translators through the BTBA. For more information, visit the official Best Translated Book Award site and the official BTBA Facebook page, and follow the award on Twitter. 

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