And the Winners of the 2020 Best Translated Book Awards Are…

The 2020 Best Translated Book Awards—announced in a livestreaming event earlier this evening—were given to Daša Drndić’s EEG and Etel Adnan’s Time.

EEG, translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth and published by New Directions, won for fiction. Lebanese-American Adnan’s Time, translated from the French by Sarah Riggs and published by Nightboat, took the poetry prize.

EEG was Drndić’s last novel, and the fourth translated by Hawkesworth, who has translated nearly 40 books in an accomplished career. Drndić is the first female author to win the fiction category since Can Xue in 2015, though as translators, men and woman are equally represented throughout the years. It is the third time New Directions has taken home this award.

Of EEG, the jury says:
Dasa Drndic in her encyclopedic, panoramic novel, superbly translated by Celia Hawkesworth, calls forth the ghosts of Europe’s 20th century in a biting indictment against complacency and the comfort and convenience of forgetting. A frenzy of observations and deeply researched facts, seething with rage and urgency, it is a haunting and masterful final work. A final work that continues on like a river. It rushes, rages through time, collecting detritus and eroding the landscape, shifting and changing at every bend. It smothers and subsumes, with palpable anger as it attempts to drown the reader again and again before granting them air at the last possible moment. There may be no better descriptor for Hawkesworth’s translation of Drndić’s prose than torrential. You may struggle and try to resist, but at a certain point, you will let yourself be swept away by it. You will give in and trust that it knows which way to go. Once in that place, EEG holds and envelops like few books in memory have.
This year’s fiction jury was comprised of: Elisa Wouk Almino (writer and translator), Pierce Alquist (Transnational Literature Series, Brookline Booksmith), Hailey Dezort (marketing and events coordinator for Kaye Publicity), Louisa Ermelino (author and columnist for Publishers Weekly), Hal Hlavinka (writer and critic), Keaton Patterson (Brazos Bookstore), Christopher Phipps (bookseller), Lesley Rains (City of Asylum Bookstore), Justin Walls (bookseller)

This is the second recent major award for Sarah Riggs’s translation of Adnan’s Time, following the Griffin Poetry Prize and a nomination as a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Though this is a translation from the French, Adnan also writes in English and Arabic. A poet herself, this was Sarah Riggs’s first BTBA nomination. This marks the seventh year in a row that the poetry prize has been awarded to both a female author and translator. It is the first time Nightboat has won the BTBA.

Of Time, the jury offers:
What’s not to savor in Etal Adnan’s philosophical and precise, yet intensely moving Time, thoughtfully and beautifully translated by Sarah Riggs? Adnan does not shy away from questions of mortality…indeed, the book’s opening stanza tells us, “I say that I’m not afraid/ of dying because I haven’t/ yet had the experience/of death.” Later in the book, we learn “There are arteries,/ veins, and other channels/ that all lead to death.” Yet despite it all, we are asked to consider that “Some flowers/ wilt tombs while/ orchards begin/ to blossom.” Indeed, the poems in these six sequences bloom with the beauty the world has to offer as well as those who have created these human-made gifts through the ages: Homer, Issa, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Shostakovich. Love, death, and the greater cosmos interweave the fabric of our lives: “there are loves that grow/ like cancers. We attach ourselves/ to them like the body to its illness,/ the moon to the earth.” And even though we’re told that “time can’t be translated,” Sarah Riggs has done a masterful job rendering Adnan’s stunning truths.
This year’s poetry jury was comprised of Nancy Naomi Carlson (poet and translator), Patricia Lockwood (poet), Aditi Machado (poet and translator), Laura Marris (writer and translator), Brandon Shimoda (author)

Best Translated Book Awards Names 2020 Finalists

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The Best Translated Books Awards today named its 2020 finalists for fiction and poetry. The award, founded by Three Percent at the University of Rochester, comes with $10,000 in prizes from the Amazon Literary Partnership. The prize will be split evenly between the winning authors and translators.

Be sure to check out this year’s fiction and poetry longlists, which we announced last month. And at Three Percent, guest writers contributed arguments for why each nominee deserves to win this year’s award.

Best Translated Book Award 2020: Fiction Finalists

Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated from the French by Frank Wynne (France, Grove)

EEG by Daša Drndić, translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth (Croatia, New Directions)

Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman, translated from the Russian by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler (Russia, New York Review Books)

Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moses and Carolina Orloff (Argentina, Charco Press)

Good Will Come From the Sea by Christos Ikonomou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich (Greece, Archipelago Books)

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder (Japan, Pantheon)

77 by Guillermo Saccomanno, translated from the Spanish by Andrea G. Labinger (Argentina, Open Letter Books)

Beyond Babylon by Igiaba Scego, translated from the Italian by Aaron Robertson (Italy, Two Lines Press)

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Poland, Riverhead)

Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt (Japan, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

This year’s fiction jury is comprised of Elisa Wouk Almino, Pierce Alquist, Hailey Dezort, Louisa Ermelino, Hal Hlavinka, Keaton Patterson, Christopher Phipps, Lesley Rains, and Justin Walls.

Best Translated Book Award 2020: Poetry Finalists

Aviva-No by Shimon Adaf, translated from the Hebrew by Yael Segalovitz (Israel, Alice James Books)

Time by Etel Adnan, translated from the French by Sarah Riggs (Lebanon, Nightboat Books)

Materia Prima by Amanda Berenguer, translated from the Spanish by Gillian Brassil, Anna Deeny Morales, Mónica de la Torre, Urayoán Noel, Jeannine Marie Pitas, Kristin Dykstra, Kent Johnson, and Alex Verdolini (Uruguay, Ugly Duckling Presse)

Next Loves by Stéphane Bouquet, translated from the French by Lindsay Turner (France, Nightboat Books)

Camouflage by Lupe Gómez, translated from the Galician by Erín Moure (Spain, Circumference Books)

This year’s poetry jury is comprised of Nancy Naomi Carlson, Patricia Lockwood, Aditi Machado, Laura Marris, and Brandon Shimoda.

The winners for both the fiction and poetry awards will be announced on May 27.

Best Translated Book Awards Names 2020 Longlists

In its 13th year of honoring literature in translation, the Best Translated Book Awards named its 2020 longlists for fiction and poetry.

Announced exclusively here at The Millions, the BTBA longlists feature a diverse group of authors and translators from a variety of publishers, both large and small. The 35 books on this year’s longlists represent 20 different countries and feature authors writing in 18 languages.

No previous BTBA winners were nominated this year, though readers will find familiar translators on both lists, including legends like Geraldine Harcourt; experienced veterans like Erin Mouré, Natasha Wimmer, and Jonathan Wright; and newer stars like Emma Ramadan and Aaron Robertson. The authors on this year’s lists follow suit, with nominees including Daša Drndić, Marie NDiaye, Olga Tokarczuk, Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, and Vasily Grossman.

From now until the winners are announced, Three Percent will host arguments for why each nominee deserves to win this year’s award.

Thanks to financial support from the Amazon Literary Partnership, the winning authors and translators will receive a monetary prize. The shortlists for both the fiction and poetry awards will be announced by early May.

Best Translated Book Award 2020: Fiction Longlist

The Wind that Lays Waste by Selva Almada, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews (Argentina, Graywolf)

The Book of Collateral Damage by Sinan Antoon, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Iraq, Yale University Press)

Welcome to America by Linda Boström Knausgård, translated from the Swedish by Martin Aitken (Sweden, World Editions)

Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated from the French by Frank Wynne (France, Grove)

Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes, translated from the French by Frank Wynne (France, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy, Europa Editions)

EEG by Daša Drndić, translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth (Croatia, New Directions)

Space Invaders by Nona Fernández, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer (Chile Graywolf)

Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman, translated from the Russian by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler (Russia, New York Review Books)

Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, translated from the Spanish by Sara Moses and Carolina Orloff (Argentina, Charco Press)

Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth, translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund (Norway, Verso)

Good Will Come From the Sea by Christos Ikonomou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich (Greece, Archipelago Books)

Tentacle by Rita Indiana, translated from the Spanish by Achy Obejas (Dominican Republic, And Other Stories)

China Dream by Ma Jian, translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew (China, Counterpoint)

Parade by Hiromi Kawakami, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell (Japan, Soft Skull)

Death Is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa, translated from the Arabic by Leri Price (Syria, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Boy by Marcus Malte, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge (France, Restless Books)

The Cheffe: A Cook’s Novel by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordon Stump (France, Knopf)

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder (Japan, Pantheon)

A Dream Come True by Juan Carlos Onetti, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (Uruguay, Archipelago Books)

77 by Guillermo Saccomanno, translated from the Spanish by Andrea G. Labinger (Argentina, Open Letter Books)

Beyond Babylon by Igiaba Scego, translated from the Italian by Aaron Robertson (Italy, Two Lines Press)

Labyrinth by Burhan Sönmez, translated from the Turkish by Umit Hussein (Turkey, Other Press)

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Poland, Riverhead)

Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt (Japan, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

This year’s fiction jury is comprised of Elisa Wouk Almino, Pierce Alquist, Hailey Dezort, Louisa Ermelino, Hal Hlavinka, Keaton Patterson, Christopher Phipps, Lesley Rains, and Justin Walls.

Best Translated Book Award 2020: Poetry Longlist

Aviva-No by Shimon Adaf, translated from the Hebrew by Yael Segalovitz (Israel, Alice James Books)

Time by Etel Adnan, translated from the French by Sarah Riggs (Lebanon, Nightboat Books)

Materia Prima by Amanda Berenguer, translated from the Spanish by Gillian Brassil, Anna Deeny Morales, Mónica de la Torre, Urayoán Noel, Jeannine Marie Pitas, Kristin Dykstra, Kent Johnson, and Alex Verdolini (Uruguay, Ugly Duckling Presse)

Next Loves by Stéphane Bouquet, translated from the French by Lindsay Turner (France, Nightboat Books)

Camouflage by Lupe Gómez, translated from the Galician by Erín Moure (Spain, Circumference Books)

Book of Minutes by Gemma Gorga, translated from the Catalan by Sharon Dolin (Spain, Oberlin College Press)

The Catalan Poems by Pere Gimferrer, translated from the Catalan by Adrian Nathan West (Spain, Carcanet)

Tell Me, Kenyalang by Kulleh Grasi, translated from the Malay and Iban by Pauline Fan (Malaysia, Circumference Books)

A Drink of Red Mirror by Kim Hyesoon, translated from the Korean by Jiwon Shin, Lauren Albin, and Sue Hyon Bae (South Korea, Action Books)

The Winter Garden Photograph by Reina María Rodríguez, translate from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen (Cuba, Ugly Duckling Presse)

This year’s poetry jury is comprised of Nancy Naomi Carlson, Patricia Lockwood, Aditi Machado, Laura Marris, and Brandon Shimoda.

For more information, visit the Best Translated Book Award site, the BTBA Facebook page, and the BTBA Twitter. And check out our coverage from 201620172018, and 2019.

National Book Awards Names 2019 Winners

The 2019 National Book Award winners were announced in New York City tonight. The big prize for fiction went to Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. (Bonus: Read our 2019 interview with Choi).

 In his opening remarks for the 70th annual ceremony, host Levar Burton spoke about the power of books personally and politically.

During his speech, Burton—television’s most beloved bibliophile—credited his mother with instilling him with a lifelong love of literature, and went on to wax poetic about the power of literacy: “Literature is the birthright of every one of us—if you can read in at least one language, you are in my definition, free. No one can pull the wool over your eyes.”

As for the awards, they went as follows:

The award in the Young People’s Literature category went to 1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler.

The award for translated literature went to Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai; translated by Ottilie Mulzet. (Bonus: Read our review).

The poetry award went to Arthur Sze for Sight Lines.

The nonfiction award went to The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom.

 Bonus Links: Earlier in the year, we dove into both the shortlist and the longlist to share excerpts and reviews where available.

Hallie Rubenhold Wins 2019 Baillie Gifford Prize

The 2019 Baillie Gifford Prize (previously the Samuel Johnson Prize), which celebrates the best in nonfiction, was awarded to The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold.

Selected from a shortlist of six titles, The Five tells the story of Polly, Annie, Elisabeth, Catherine, and Mary Jane, five women who were murdered, in separate instances, in 1888. Their murderer, the man who would be known as Jack the Ripper, became famous; the women themselves faded into obscurity. Rubenhold uses archival material to refocus the story, centering both the women who lost their lives and the larger context of poverty, misogyny, and homelessness in which they lived.

The judges noted The Five’s combination of passion and historical accuracy, as well as its inventive and timely exploration of a well-documented subject. Said judge Frances Wilson, “It’s so urgent and it’s so eloquent and it’s so angry and beautifully put together.” Fellow judge Dr Xand van Tulleken described the book as “absolutely captivating and gripping,” and urged readers to see “how relevant it is to life in the U.K. at the moment.”

Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo Win 2019 Booker Prize

In a stunning turn of events (and perhaps even taking a page out of the Nobel’s playbook), the 2019 Booker Prize has been awarded to two books: Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other. The two winners will share the £50,000 prize.

Peter Florence, the chair of the 2019 judges, said: “This ten month process has been a wild adventure. In the room today we talked for five hours about books we love. Two novels we cannot compromise on. They are both phenomenal books that will delight readers and will resonate for ages to come.”

A few fun facts about this years prize:

The Booker Prize has been awarded to two works twice before, but this is the first joint-winner since 1993—when the rules were changed to allow only one author to win the prize at a time.
Evaristo is the first black woman to have ever won the Booker Prize.
This is Atwood’s second win (she won in 2000 for The Blind Assassin), and she has been shortlisted four times: The Handmaid’s Tale (1986), Cat’s Eye (1989), Alias Grace (1996), and Oryx and Crake (2003). 

Here are the authors that made this year’s short and long lists.

Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke Win Nobel Prizes in Literature

This morning’s Nobel Prize in Literature announcement marked a first in the award’s 118-year history: two awards will be bestowed—one for 2018 and one for 2019.

Shortly after Kazuo Ishiguro won the prize in 2017, the Academy was rocked by a multi-faceted scandal: Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of Katarina Frostenson, an academy member, was accused (and later convicted) of sexual abuse, exploitation, and rape, The husband and wife are also accused of misusing academy funding. In the wake of those crises and multiple resignations, the 2018 prize and ceremony were cancelled.

This morning, however, Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as well as the its 9m Swedish krona purse ($910,000+) prize.

Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the 2018 prize for “a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”

Tokarczuk is no stranger to awards. For her novel Flights, she won the 2008 Nike Award—Poland’s most prestigious literary prize—and the English translation by Jennifer Croft would go on to win the 2019 Man Booker International award. Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Tokarczuk’s second novel, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, was longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize and longlisted for the National Book Award in Translated Literature.

She also recently cracked into The Millions Top Ten as well—which may be the most exciting feat of all (depending on who you’re asking, I guess). To learn more about Tokarczuk, The Millions has a fantastic review of her novel Flights, as well as an astute profile of the author by Gabe Habash.

Austrian author Peter Handke won the 2019 prize for “an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.” The Millions predicted Handke’s chances to win in 2009. Handke is a controversial figure that even called for the Nobel Prize to be abolished in 2014 in an Austrian newspaper. 

National Book Awards Names 2019 Finalists

The National Book Foundation announced the National Book Award finalists today. Each category—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people’s literature, and translated literature—has been narrowed down from the longlist 10 to the shortlist five. While many of the finalists have made the NBA shortlist before, none of them have won of a National Book Award in these categories.

Here’s a list of the finalists in all five categories, with bonus links where available:

Fiction:

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (Read our 2019 interview with Choi)
Sabrina & Corinas by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Featured in our Great First-Half 2019 Book Preview)
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (Read a profile of James)
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami (Read Lalami’s 2018 Year in Reading entry)
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips (Featured in our Great First-Half 2019 Book Preview)

Nonfiction:

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom (Featured in our Great Second-Half 2019 Book Preview)
Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom (Featured in our Great First-Half 2019 Book Preview)
What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance by Carolyn Forché
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
Solitary by Albert Woodfox with Leslie George


Poetry:

The Tradition by Jericho Brown (Read an excerpt from Brown’s collection)
“I”: New and Selected Poems by Toi Derricotte (Read our 2019 interview with Derricotte)
Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky (Featured in March’s Must-Read Poetry roundup)
Be Recorder by Carmen Giménez Smith (Read an excerpt from Smith’s collection)
Sight Lines by Arthur Sze

Translated Literature

Death Is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa, translated by Leri Price
Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet (Read our review)
The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Jordan Stump
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder (Featured in our Great Second-Half 2019 Book Preview)
Crossing by Pajtim Statovci, translated by David Hackston

Young People’s Literature:

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (Featured in our Great Second-Half 2019 Book Preview)
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler

The awards will be revealed in New York City on November 20.

Center for Fiction Names 2019 First Novel Prize Shortlist

The Center for Fiction named its 2019 First Novel Prize shortlist over at LitHub this morning. The award is given to the “best debut novel published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of the award year,” and the prize-winning author receives $10,000.

This year’s judges—Maaza Mengiste, Claire Messud, Emma Straub,  Monique Truong, and Tommy Orange (last year’s winner)—whittled the 27-title longlist down to just seven titles.

Here’s the 2019 shortlist, with bonus links when applicable:

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (Read Wilkinson’s 2018 Year in Reading)

Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad (Read Sudbanthad’s 2018 Year in Reading)

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips (Recently longlisted for the National Book Award in Fiction)

Fall Back Down When I Die by Joe Wilkins

In West Mills by De’Shawn Charles Winslow (Featured in our June Preview)

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Featured in two Year in Reading posts)

The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin (Featured in Julia Phillips’s list of eight books set in the middle of nowhere)

The winner will be announced at The Center for Fiction’s annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on December 10.

National Book Foundation Names 5 Under 35 Authors for 2019

The National Book Foundation named its 5 Under 35 honorees for 2019. The program recognizes five debut fiction writers under the age of 35 whose work “promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape.” Each 5 Under 35 author is selected by a previous National Book Award-winner or 5 Under 35 author.

Here’s a list of the honorees, with bonus links where available:

So Many Olympic Exertions by Anelise Chen (Read our interview with Chen.)

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad

Such Good Work by Johannes Lichtman (A writer for the site back in the day)

Lot by Bryan Washington (Read our interview with Washington; Here’s his Year in Reading post)

Happy Like This by Ashley Wurzbacher