I’ve spent the last nine months-ish reading almost exclusively books in translation as a judge for this year’s Best Translated Book Award and holy housecats, what a time it has been. I’ve had some transcendent reading moments and some WTF-did-I-just-read moments, sometimes in the same book. The winning author and the winning translator both get $5,000…pretty rad. Find out more about the prize (and the sister prize for poetry in translation) here.
Anywoot, the judges read hundreds of books this year and battled mightily over the long list. The result of our battles is this list of 25 books, translated into English from 16 different languages:
Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan, translated by Annie Tucker. Indonesian, Indonesia.
Berlin by Aleš Šteger, translated by Brian Henry, Forrest Gander, and Aljaž Kovac. Slovene, Slovenia.
The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya, translated by Polly Gannon. Russian, Russia.
The Body Where I Was Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated by J. T. Lichtenstein. Spanish, Mexico.
The Four Books by Yan Lianke, translated by Carlos Rojas. Chinese, China.
French Perfume by Amir Tag Elsir, translated by William M. Hutchins. Arabic, Sudan.
A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated by Daniel Hahn. Portuguese, Angola.
I Refuse by Per Petterson, translated by Don Bartlett. Norwegian, Norway.
Mirages of the Mind by Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, translated by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad. Urdu, India.
Moods by Yoel Hoffmann, translated by Peter Cole. Hebrew, Israel.
Murder Most Serene by Gabrielle Wittkop, translated by Louise Rogers Lalaurie. French, France.
Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, translated by Sora Kim-Russell. Korean, South Korea.
The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel. Bulgarian, Bulgaria.
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman. Spanish, Mexico.
The Sleep of the Righteous by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated by Isabel Fargo Cole. German, Germany.
Sphinx by Anne Garréta, translated from by Emma Ramadan. French, France.
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated by Christina MacSweeney. Spanish, Mexico.
The Things We Don’t Do by Andrés Neuman, translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia. Spanish, Argentina.
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, translated by Roland Glasser. French, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
War, So Much War by Mercè Rodoreda, translated by Maruxa Relaño and Martha Tennent. Catalan, Spain.
Stay tuned to the BTBA website for posts about each title and why it should win (written by the judges and some outside writers), and for the short list announcement on April 19th.
Have you read any of the long list books? What did you think? Any you think we should have included that we didn’t Also…#TeamLispector. Just FYI.