The Best Translated Book Award 2018 winners were announced last evening at the New York Rights Fair and on The Millions. Founded in 2007, the Best Translated Book Award brings attention to the best works of translated literature published in the previous year. The winning author and translator each receive a $5,000 cash prize for both the fiction and poetry award, totaling $20,000. Thanks to grant funds from the Amazon Literary Partnership the award has given out more than $140,000 to international authors and their translators.
The award in fiction goes to The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden (Argentina, Open Letter Books).
“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.”
And the poetry award goes to Before Lyricism by Eleni Vakalo, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich (Greece, Ugly Duckling Presse).
“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.”
Disclosure: Our Executive Editor Amanda Nelson and our contributor Rachel Cordasco have both served as BTBA judges in past years.