The Winners of the Best Translated Book Award in 2016 - Part 1
The Best Translated Book Award recognizes the best original translations into English.
It all began in 2008 when the first annual Best Translated Book Award was held. The University of Rochester runs a book translation press known as Open Letter Books, which in turn runs an online literary magazine known as Three Percent. Back in 2008, Three Percent conferred the first inaugural Best Translated Book Award and shortlisted a selection of fiction books and books of poetry that had been translated into English.
Not simply an award for the quality of a translation into English, the Best Translated Book Award also takes into account the original work by the author in their native language, as well as the contributions of the publisher and editor, in addition to the efforts of the translator.
The award was initially offered without a cash prize, however, in its third year, major book publisher and worldwide distributor Amazon announced its decision, as part of the Amazon Literary Partnership program, to provide prizes of $5,000 each to the original author and the translator in both of the categories. While the cash prizes are certainly a welcome incentive, the Best Translated Book Award has become a prestigious award to win, one that carried with it the reputation of being a leader in the field of literature translation. To date, $100,000 has been awarded in cash prizes since the inception of the awards.
Only one person has ever won the award twice in either category, and that was László Krasznahorkai who was awarded for their efforts on Seiobo There Below and Satantango. However, Phoneme Media became the first literary press to win the awards in the poetry category in back-to-back years, having published the winning entries in 2015 and 2016.
The Finalists of the Best Translated Book Award for 2016
The finalists for the Best Translated Book Award were announced in early 2016, with an impressive lineup in both the literature and the poetry categories. This year, the ten finalists in the fiction category were:
Murder Most Serene, written in French by Gabrielle Wittkop and translated into English by Louise Rogers Lalaurie
War, So Much War, written in Catalan by Mercè Rodoreda and translated into English by Maruxa Relaño and Martha Tennent
The Story of My Teeth, written in Spanish by Valeria Luiselli and translated into English by Christina MacSweeney
The Complete Stories, written in Portuguese by Clarice Lispector and translated into English by Katrina Dodson
Moods, written in Hebrew by Yoel Hoffmann and translated into English by Peter Cole
Signs Preceding the End of the World, written in Spanish by Yuri Herrera and translated into English by Lisa Dillman
The Physics of Sorrow, written in Bulgarian by Georgi Gospodinov and translated into English by Angela Rodel
The Story of the Lost Child, written in Italian by Elena Ferrante and translated into English by Ann Goldstein
Arvida, written in French by Samuel Archibald and translated into English by Donald Winkler
A General Theory of Oblivion, written in Portuguese by José Eduardo Agualusa and translated into English by Daniel Hahn.