ALTA’s National Translation Award Longlists Feature 13 Languages

In News by Dennis Abrams

A point of pride in the American Literary Translators’ National Translation Awards: the translations are evaluated in one round by comparison to their original texts.
The American Literary Translators Association's annual conference is in October.

The American Literary Translators Association’s annual conference is in October.

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

Thirteen Languages in the Awards’ 18th Year
The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) has announced its longlists for the 2016 National Translation Awards (NTA) in Poetry and Prose. This is the 18th year for the NTA, which is administered by ALTA, and only the second year the organization has awarded separate prizes in poetry and prose.

The NTA is the only national award for translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction, and includes what is described as a “rigorous examination” of both source texts and their relation to the finished English work.

This year’s longlists features authors writing in 13 languages, which organizers say points to the program’s interest in literary diversity in English. The selection criteria include the quality of the finished English language book, as well as the quality of the translation.

NTA Longlist in Poetry

Elliott-Cover-250x386Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems
By Jürgen Becker (Germany)
Translated from the German by Okla Elliott
(Black Lawrence Press)

I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky
By Arseny Tarkovsky
Translated from the Russian by Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev
(The Cleveland State University Poetry Center)

Minute-Operas
By Frédéric Forte (France)
Translated from the French by Daniel Levin Becker, Ian Monk, Michelle Noteboom, Jean-Jacques Poucel
(Burning Deck)

Rilke Shake
By Angélica Freitas (Brazil)
Translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan
(Phoneme Media)

Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du Mal
By Charles Baudelaire (France)
Translated from the French by Jan Owen
(Arc Publications)

9525a5_9c679c6717df4dfd8fda923a2f1d6772The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems
By Natalia Toledo (Mexico)
Translated from the Isthmus Zapotec and Spanish by Clare Sullivan
(Phoneme Media)

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa
By Chika Sagawa (Japan)
Translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu
(Canarium Books)
See Publishing Perspectives’ story on translator Sawako Nakayasu

The Country of Planks
By Raúl Zurita (Chile)
Translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky
(Action Books)

This Blue Novel
By Valerie Mejer Caso (Mexico)
Translated from the Spanish by Michelle Gil-Montero
(Action Books)

White Blight
By Athena Farrokhzad (Sweden)
Translated from the Swedish by Jennifer Hayashida
(Argos Books)

NTA Longlist in Prose

unnamedAdventures in Immediate Irreality
By Max Blecher
Translated from the Romanian by Michael Henry Heim
(New Directions)

Leg over Leg
By Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (Lebanon)
Translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies
(Library of Arabic Literature/NYU Press)

Lovers on All Saints’ Day
By Juan Gabriel Vasquez
Translated from the Spanish by Ann Maclean
(Riverhead Books)

Stammered Songbook: A Mother’s Book of Hours
By Erwin Mortier (Belgium)
Translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent
(Pushkin Press)

The Blizzard
By Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)
Translated from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector
By Clarice Lispector (Brazil)
Translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson
(New Directions)

unnamed (1)The Hotel Years
By Joseph Roth
Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
(New Directions)

The Meursault Investigation
By Kamel Daoud (Algeria)
Translated from the French by John Cullen
(Other Press)

The Physics of Sorrow
By Georgi Gospodinov (Bulgaria)
Translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
(Open Letter Books)

The Story of My Teeth
By Valeria Luiselli (Mexico)
Translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
(Coffee House Press)

Tristano Dies: A Life
By Antonio Tabucchi (Italy)
Translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris
(Archipelago Books)

This year’s judges for poetry are Adriana Jacobs, Karen Kovacik, and Cole Swensen. In prose, the judges are Karen Emmerich, Andrea Labinger, and Marian Schwartz.

Winning translators are to receive a $2,500 cash prize each, and the awards are scheduled to be announced at ALTA’s annual conference, this year in Oakland, California, October 6 to 9.

The five-title shortlists are to be announced in September. ALTA is highlighting each book on the longlists with features written by the judges. They can be found on the ALTA blog.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.