Best Translated Book Award is a new award and is an initiative of Three Percent the web blog arm of Open Letter which is book translating press division of the University of Rochester- think we got that right! Three Percent launched in the summer of 2007 with the lofty goal of becoming a destination for readers, editors, and translators interested in finding out about modern and contemporary international literature. Open Letter plan to publish twelve translated works each year. Excellent.

The Three Percent comes from the fact that only that percentage ( or lower) of books that are published in the USA are translated from another language into English- a great shame given the marvellous amount of literature available.

Hearty congratulations to Chad Post, who it appears is the driving force behind the initiative, and the team of judges. Let's hope that the award lives long and prospers.

2010 Winner & Shortlisted

Anonymous Celebrity by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão
The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven - WINNER
The Discoverer by Jan Kjaerstad

Ghosts by Cesar Aira
Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Rex by José Manuel Prieto
The Tanners by Robert Walser
The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker
The Weather Fifteen Years Ago by Wolf Haas
Wonder by Hugo Claus

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2010 Longlist

 

Best Translated Book Award Winners and Finalists

(could not get all the covers in the slideshow. A couple of those shown are also in their original language..)

2009 Fiction Award Winner

not_lost_in_translation_copyright_kev_parkerTranquility by Attila Bartis, translated from the Hungarian by Imre Goldstein and

published by Archipelago Books.

Judges Overview

Plot summaries rarely do a book justice, but in short, this novel is about Andor Weer, a thirty-six-year-old writer who lives with his mother (a formerly gorgeous stage actress) who hasn’t left the house in fifteen years. She’s bit

er, a bit deranged, and pretty aggressive, especially towards Andor’s girlfriends. The two of them are trapped in a incredibly wicked Oedipal mess. On top of this, Andor’s sister Judit defected from Hungary to pursue her music career (this defection brought about the downfall of Rebeka’s stage career), leading their mother to literally bury an casket with all of Judit’s things in the cemetery.

In short, this is a dark, twisted book, and one that’s incredibly gripping and very well written and well translated. (No surprise—Imre Goldstein’s one of the best.) Told is a looping, achronological fashion, the horrors of Andor’s life are revealed bit by bit with a hint of dark humor and a sense that the world (at least for Andor) is total shit.

2009 Poetry Award

For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut by Takashi Hiraide, translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu and published by New Directions.

This book just happens to a be a perfect example of how one award can beget another . . . In 2005, Sawako Nakayasu actually received a PEN Translation Fund Award for her then ongoing translation of this volume. That award brought the book to the attention of New Directions, and the rest is history . . . Playful and unique, our panelists loved this collection. Made up of 111 sections, it’s “a mix of detailed scientific observations, poetics, narrative, autobiography, rhetorical experiments, hyper-realistic images, and playful linguistic subversion—all scored with the precision of a mathematical-musical structure.” A very established writer in Japan, this is only the second of Takashi Hiraide’s collections to be published in English.

Fiction Finalists:

Winner - Tranquility by Attila Bartis
translated from the Hungarian by Imre Goldstein
(Archipelago)

2666 by Roberto Bolaño
translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolaño
translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews
(New Directions)

Voice Over by Céline Curiol
translated from the French by Sam Richard
(Seven Stories)

The Darkroom of Damocles by Willem Frederik Hermans
translated from the Dutch by Ina Rilke
(Overlook)

Yalo by Elias Khoury
translated from the Arabic by Peter Theroux
(Archipelago)

Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya
translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver
(New Directions)

Unforgiving Years by Victor Serge
translated from the French by Richard Greeman
(New York Review Books)

Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra
translated from the Spanish by Carolina De Robertis
(Melville House)

The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
translated from the German by Joel Rotenberg
(New York Review Books

Poetry Finalists:

Winner: For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut by Takashi Hiraide
translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu
(New Directions)

Essential Poems and Writings by Robert Desnos
translated from the French by Mary Ann Caws, Terry Hale, Bill Zavatsky, Martin Sorrell, Jonathan Eburne, Katherine Connelly, Patricia Terry, and Paul Auster
(Black Widow)

You Are the Business by Caroline Dubois
translated from the French by Cole Swensen
(Burning Deck)

As It Turned Out by Dmitry Golynko
translated from the Russian by Eugene Ostashevsky, Rebecca Bella, and Simona Schneider
(Ugly Duckling)

Poems of A.O. Barnabooth by Valery Larbaud
translated from the French by Ron Padgett & Bill Zavatsky
(Black Widow)

Night Wraps the Sky by Vladimir Mayakovsky
translated from the Russian by Katya Apekina, Val Vinokur, and Matvei Yankelevich, and edited by Michael Almereyda
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

A Different Practice by Fredrik Nyberg
translated from the Swedish by Jennifer Hayashida
(Ugly Duckling)

EyeSeas by Raymond Queneau
translated from the French by Daniela Hurezanu and Stephen Kessler
(Black Widow)

Peregrinary by Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki
translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston
(Zephyr)

Eternal Enemies by Adam Zagajewski
translated from the polish by Clare Cavanagh
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

This year’s panelists included Monica Carter, bookseller at Skylight Books and editor of Salonica ; Steve Dolph, editor of CALQUE ; Scott Esposito, editor of Conversational Reading and The Quarterly Conversation ; Brandon Kennedy, bookseller at Spoonbill & Sugartown ; Michael Orthofer, editor of the Literary Saloon and Complete Review ; Chad W. Post, director of Open Letter Books and this blog ; E.J. Van Lanen, senior editor of Open Letter Books and Three Percent; and Jeff Waxman, bookseller at the Seminary Co-op Bookstores and editor of The Front Table.