This year’s Best Translated Book Award recipients have certainly done their part for the world of international literature.
The six finalists in the poetry category were:
Sea Summit, written in Chinese by Yi Lu and translated into English by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Big Dipper, written in French by Abdourahman A. Waberi and translated into English by Nancy Naomi Carlson
Silvina Ocampo, written in Spanish by Silvina Ocampo and translated into English by Jason Weiss
Load Poems Like Guns: Women’s Poetry, written in Persian by Herat and translated into English by Farzana Marie
Empty Chairs: Selected Poems, written in Chinese by Liu Xia and translated into English by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern
Rilke Shake, written in Portuguese by Angélica Freitas and translated into English by Hilary Kaplan.
The Winners of the Best Translated Book Award in 2016
This year, the winner in the fiction category was Signs Preceding the End of the World, written in Spanish by Yuri Herrera and translated into English by Lisa Dillman, and the winner in the poetry category was Rilke Shake, written in Portuguese by Angélica Freitas and translated into English by Hilary Kaplan.
The Importance of the Best Translated Book Awards
A spokesperson from Amazon’s Literary Partnership program, referred to the Best Translated Book Awards as being an “annual literary highlight,” noting that it draws necessary attention to phenomenal international works of literature and poetry that “deserved to be introduced to U.S. readers.”
Indeed, there are many native English speakers outside the United States who would agree that the Best Translated Book Awards serve an incredibly important role. Brilliant works of fiction and poetry are created in languages other than English on an almost daily basis, and it seems a great shame that these works are otherwise unacceptable to those who speak and read in only English. Likewise, many great works of literature that were initially created in English have been translated for a wide international audience.
For example, the Harry Potter series of books, written in English by British author J.K. Rowling and arguably one of the most important, influential, and widespread children’s book series history, has been translated into 68 languages, making the generation-defining set of seven novels available for children and adults alike to enjoy all over the world.
Given that the awards have been going strong for nine years now, and that even becoming shortlisted for an award carries much prestige among the international literature translation community, it is hoped that the Best Translated Book Awards continue to go from strength to strength in the upcoming years. It can only be of great benefit to the international literature community, and to voracious readers worldwide.