2014 Best Translated Book Award Longlist Announced & Wildcatter Exchange March 14-15 in Fort Worth!

The 2014 Best Translated Book Award longlist for fiction has been announced (the BTBA poetry shortlist will be announced soon)!! Launched as part of Open Letter Books’ Three Percent blog in 2007, the Best Translated Book Award honors the best work of original translation of both Fiction and Poetry published in English during the previous year. The winning author and translator each receives $5,000.

Without further ado, in alphabetical order I present to you the 25 titles on the 2014 longlist, with the cover art (because a plain list is so boring), translators, publishers’ information, and author’s home country, all pulled from the announcement on Three Percent:

Best Translated Book Award 2014 Fiction Longlist

Horses of God by Mahi Binebine, translated from the French by Lulu Norman (Morocco; Tin House)

Blinding by Mircea Cărtărescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Romania; Archipelago Books)

Textile by Orly Castel-Bloom, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu (Israel; Feminist Press)

Sleet by Stig Dagerman, translated from the Swedish by Steven Hartman (Sweden; David R. Godine)

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy; Europa Editions)

Tirza by Arnon Grunberg, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett (Netherlands; Open Letter Books)

Her Not All Her by Elfriede Jelinek, translated from the German by Damion Searls (Austria; Sylph Editions)

My Struggle: Book Two by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Norway; Archipelago Books)

Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet (Hungary; New Directions)

Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull (Ukraine; NYRB)

The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor (Argentina; New Vessel Press)

The Infatuations by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain; Knopf)

A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters (Japan; Other Press)

In the Night of Time by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman (Spain; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa, translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Gray (Guatemala; Yale University Press)

Through the Night by Stig Sæterbakken, translated from the Norwegian by Seán Kinsella (Norway; Dalkey Archive)

Commentary by Marcelle Sauvageot, translated from the French by Christine Schwartz Hartley & Anna Moschovakis (France; Ugly Duckling Presse)

Leg Over Leg Vol. 1 by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies (Lebanon; New York University Press)

The Whispering Muse by Sjón, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (Iceland; FSG)

The Forbidden Kingdom by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent (Netherlands; Pushkin Press)

The Devil’s Workshop by Jáchym Topol, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker (Czech Republic; Portobello Books)

The End of Love by Marcos Giralt Torrente, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (Spain; McSweeney’s)

Red Grass by Boris Vian, translated from the French by Paul Knobloch (France; Tam Tam Books)

City of Angels, or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud by Christa Wolf,translated from the German by Damion Searls (Germany; FSG)

Sandalwood Death by Mo Yan, translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt (China; University of Oklahoma Press)

As Chad Post noted in the announcement, this is a pretty amazing list of books, and these 25 books alone could provide you a year’s worth of reading material, and it would be the best reading year of your life:

Speaking of diverse, I want to use this post to point out a couple of interesting facts about this year’s list:

  • Twenty-three different publishers have a book on this list, which is unprecedented;
  • There are translations from sixteen languages on this year’s longlist;
  • This year’s longlisted authors are from twenty different countries

Last year’s winner, Hungary’s Laszlo Krasznahorkai (for his magnificent Satantango), is on the list again with Seiobo There Below (both published by New Directions), with the chance to become the first BTBA back-to-back winner (though from different translators). Also at this link is a list of the full 25 books on Riffle, which if you’re not using yet, provides a great alternative to the Amazon-owned Goodreads. Typographical Era also has a fantastic rundown of all of the longlist titles with links to buy from their publishers and a good information blurb on each book.

So who’s your favorite to win?! I’ve only read three of these titles (Blinding, Tirza, and The Devil’s Workshop), but the rest of the 22 have been on my to-read shelf all year! My money is on Blinding or Seiobo There Below, but this year’s field is wide open. Curious to see who will make the shortlist,to be announced on April 15…

Dallas’ own translator Sean Cotter is on the list for his translation of Mircea Cartarescu’s Blinding (Archipelago Books), translated from the Romanian. I’ll be writing a “Why This Book Should Win” post for the Three Percent blog, and it’s an easy argument to make: Sean’s translation is imaginative, creative, and flawless. He has captured the manic, mad majesty of Cartarescu’s mind and the labyrinthine shadows of Bucharest so lovingly described throughout centuries of history, a history of Cartarescu himself, his ancestors, his family, his city, and his active, whirlwind mind. There has never been anything written in the English language to prepare you for the originality of vision and language that you will find within the pages of Blinding. If you live in Dallas, grab a copy at The Wild Detectives and prepare to have your mind blown to pieces.

Speaking of Sean Cotter, he and I are participating in a panel talk and reading of our translations this Saturday, March 15 in Fort Worth, as part of the inaugural Wildcatter Exchange, a celebration of Fort Worth’s rich literary history with the written and spoken word. All events, including ours, are held in Fort Worth’s historic South Main neighborhood, and are free and open to the public. If you live in North Texas, in any of the four corners of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, this will be a great chance to hear Sean read from Blinding, and to hear me read from my translation of the Russian journalist Oleg Kashin’s first novel, a politically-charged hilarious sci-fi influenced romp through the insanity of contemporary Russia, called Fardwor, Ruissa! A Fantastical Tale from Putin’s Russia (Russian title: Роисся вперде: фантастическая повесть). I’ll ask Sean some questions about his translation style and what he’s learned from a life lived in translation, and we’ll field questions from the audience about our work and our inspiration. World literature fans in North Texas, I expect to see you there: details can be found on the Wildcatter Exchange’s website, and you can hop on Facebook and tell us you’re coming too!

Wildcatter Exchange

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