PEN Translation Award List & Art of Flight Release Day!!

It’s The Art of Flight release day!!!!

Oh, you mean there’s some other kind of holiday today too?! May I suggest one way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year that doesn’t involve reinforcing alcoholic stereotypes: you can pick up a work of Irish literature. I mean written in Irish, not in the language of the oppressor English. Here’s a suggestion, a new work in translation from the Irish written by Máirtín Ó Cadhain published by Yale University Press (details borrowed from Chad at Open Letter/Three Percent‘s March translation preview post):

The Dirty Dust by Máirtín Ó Cadhain, translated from the Irish by Alan Titley (Yale University Press)

Interesting Facts: 1) Ó Cadhain is considered to be the master of modern Irish prose writing, but has never been translated into English; 2) Dalkey is publishing another book of his, The Key later this year; and last, but most interesting, 3) from the press release, “Yale University Press will publish another translation of this novel, Graveyard Clay: Creé na Cille, translated by Liam Mac Con Iomaire and Tim Robinson, also as part of the Margellos World Republic of Letters series, in a special annotate edition in 2016.”

But I probably will always remember March 17th as the anniversary of the first day that a book by Sergio Pitol was available to the world in our own Dallasite George Henson‘s translation. Shocking, no?! Well, thankfully we did something about the problem, and you can join in the celebration of Sergio Pitol‘s life and work tomorrow on his 82nd birthday here in Dallas at The Wild Detectives:


Pitol March 18 PartyTypographical Era published a review of The Art of Flight today that highlights this masterwork, this lesson in literature, from one of the world’s greatest writers and stylists:

Yes! Go ahead and call the Art of Flight unclassifiable if you want, call it a historicaltraveldiaryessaybiography if you must, label it whatever or however you want to, but what it really is, pardon the alliteration, is a love letter to literature lovers everywhere. Even the most voracious of readers and most learned of scholars are bound to come up against some unfamiliar names within the pages of this book, but it doesn’t matter how familiar you are with the subjects or subject matter being discussed. Pitol—and let’s give credit where credit is due—translator George Henson have a rich command over language, one that keeps you enthralled through it all. You’re never spoken down to, you’re never handheld or held back by endless footnotes, and you’re never meant to feel ashamed for any literary shortcomings you might possess. Instead, The Art of Flight reads like a long overdue celebration for a timeless art form that is constantly changing, constantly reinventing itself through the years, but rest assured, will never die.

And in more amazing news for Carmen Boullosa & Samantha Schnee, following hot on the heels of their 2014 Typographical Era Translation Award win, the PEN Literary Awards longlists were announced today, and Texas: The Great Theft has been listed for the PEN Translation Award! What an amazing honor for this remarkable author/translator team. And the best part is to be recognized among such illustrious company. The full longlist for the PEN Translation Award (but copy & pasted from Three Percent’s rundown because they link to the publisher’s page for each book):

For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2014.

Judges: Heather Cleary, Lucas Klein, Tess Lewis, and Allison Markin Powell

Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz, translated from the Polish by Danuta Borchardt (Yale/Margellos)

The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla, translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush (New York Review Books)

The Symmetry Teacher by Andrei Bitov, translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Master of Confessions by Thierry Cruvellier, translated from the French by Alex Gilly (Ecco)

The Man Who Loved Dogs by Leonardo Padura, translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

I Ching translated from the Chinese by John Minford (Viking Books)

Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt, translated from the Danish by Denise Newman (Two Lines Press)

Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa, translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schness (Deep Vellum Publishing)

Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (Two Lines Press)

The Woman Who Borrowed Memories by Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal & Silvester Mazzarella (New York Review Books)

In more translation news, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation list is INSANE. If you’re the kind of writer or poet looking for some new voices, some new places to explore how to construct the human language in a fundamentally new and amazing way, check out any of these books. ESPECIALLY Kim Hyesoon, she is too amazing, had the pleasure of meeting her in Seoul in December, and her books, published by Action Books, are incredible! (Again the copy & paste is from Three Percent for their links to the publisher’s page for each book:)

The $3,000 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation recognizes book-length translations of poetry from any language into English published in the previous calendar year and is judged by a single translator of poetry appointed by the PEN Translation Committee.

Judge: Ana Božičević

Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi (Action Books)

Love Poems by Bertolt Brecht, translated from the German by David Constantine & Tom Kuhn (Liveright)

I Am the Beggar of the World by Eliza Griswold, translated from the Pashto by the author (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Selected Poems by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman (W. W. Norton & Company)

Where Are the Trees Going? by Venus Khoury-Ghata, translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Hacker (Northwestern University Press)

Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan, translated from the German by Pierre Joris (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Guantanamo by Frank Smith, translated from the French by Vanessa Place (Les Figues Press)

Skin by Tone Škrjanec, translated from the Slovenian by Matthew Rohrer and Ana Pepelnik (Tavern Books)

Diana’s Tree by Alejandra Pizarnik, translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert (Ugly Duckling Presse)

Autoepitaph by Reinaldo Arenas, translated from the Spanish by Kelly Washbourne (University Press of Florida)


Another awesome fact, something that like…never happens. Valeria Luiselli‘s sensational essay collection Sidewalks, translated by Christina MacSweeney, and published by our inspiration/forever bros Coffee House, is nominated for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2014 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature. Valeria is the best. Congratulations to her, and to Christina, and to Coffee House (who have more than one nomination! Amazing work y’all!)

And in the sweetest news, we aren’t the only Dallasites and Texans with a PEN Award nomination today! Congratulations to our dear friend & supporter Merritt Tierce, whose Love Me Back is like a punch in the gut of awesomeness! From the Dallas Morning News: “Texas writers inscribed on PEN longlist:”

The longlist for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards has plenty of names that Dallas readers will recognize.

Local writer Merritt Tierce is listed in the debut fiction category for Love Me Back, as is Texas-raised Cynthia Bond, for Ruby. That award carries a $25,000 prize.

S.C. Gwynne, a former Dallas Morning News writer, is nominated in biography (a $5,000 award) for Rebel Yell

And Texas: The Great Theft, by Carmen Boullsa, has been nominated for the $3,000 Pen Translation Prize. That novel, translated by Samantha Schnee, was published by Dallas’ Deep Vellum Publishing. (You can read a profile of founder Will Evans here.)

Congratulations to all the PEN Award nominees, but of course most especially our dearest author/translator team: Carmen Boullosa & Samantha Schnee! Without them, we would not be here. Without them, we would all be the poorer for it. Thank you forever, Carmen & Sam.


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