Ófeigur Sigurdsson’s Öræfi: The Wasteland, translated from Icelandic by Lytton Smith, is a Best Translated Book Award finalist!!! The winner will be announced at the New York Rights Fair on Wednesday, May 29th. At 4:15 is a panel “International Literature: Promoting and Finding Audiences. Afterwards, at 5:00, the winner will be announced, with a $2,000 prize for each winning author and translator, followed by a reception.

Check out this piece on “Why Öræfi: The Wasteland Should Win the BTBA” by award judge Keaton Patterson, who is also a bookseller at our home-away-from-home in Houston, Brazos Bookstore!

“Why should Ófeigur Sigurðsson’s ÖræfiThe Wasteland win the 2019 Best Translated Book Award for fiction? To start, it’ll be easier to go over all the reasons it shouldn’t win. It’s too absurd. Too funny. Too outlandish. Too wrapped up in the mythology of its own making. There’s too much about Viking sagas, penis amputation, Icelandic goats, natural disasters, and most importantly it goes on and on about the virtues of death metal. All of this is couched in a complex, densely nested narrative structure that removes the reader from the truth by no fewer than three degrees. But all these reasons are actually beside the point. Öræfi should win the 2019 BTBA, because it really just doesn’t give a fuck whether it wins or not. It is a novel that exists solely by its own volition. It is a fictional force of nature that claimed every single literary award Iceland—quite possibly the most literary country per capita on the planet—has to offer. ORAEFI plays by its own rules, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sigurdsson didn’t so much as write it as divine it out of the cold northern ether. Quite simply, Öræfi is.”

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