Saturday, January 20, 2007

Homage to the Art of Translators

The longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has been announced, and as Boyd Tonkin says, it has never looked richer, or broader.

Tonkin pays homage both to the "protean art" of fiction:
... as practised from Berlin (by Jenny Erpenbeck) to Buenos Aries (by Edgardo Cozarinsky). Power and its abuses come under cool, satirical scrutiny from Angola (José Eduardo Agualusa) to Albania (Ismail Kadare). Family stories bring joy and sorrow, comedy and tragedy, from Austria (Eva Menasse) to Iran (Kader Abdolah). Mysteries from the past demand solutions from the present in Cuba (Leonardo Padura) or Italy (Niccolò Ammaniti). Individuals face life-defining moments of crisis and discovery in Norway (Linn Ullmann) or Afghanistan (Atiq Rahimi). And this world in flux takes shape via fictional forms as vastly varied as the street-smart Parisian rap of Faïza Guène or the epic, and self-translated, African fable of Ngugi wa Thiong'o. With this list, an entire planet of fiction swings into view.
and to the skill of the translators, noting that the chosen novels:
... are without exception, powerful books carried into English on powerful shoulders.
The prize is unique among literary award in that it rewards both novelist and translator equally.

The judges had one dilemma this year. The prize honours living novelists. What were they then to do with the highly acclaimed Suite Francaise by Irene Némirovsky? The author died in Auschwitz in 1942, but the novel lay undiscovered in a trunk for over 60 years.

It was decided in the end to give the novel a special commendation so that it could stand:
... above the battle ... and in a class of its own.
Here's the longlist with links to follow:

My Father's Notebook by Kader Abdolah and translated by Susan Massotty
The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa and translated by Daniel Hahn
Steal You Away by Niccolò Ammaniti and translated by Jonathan Hunt
The Speed of Light by Javier Cercas and translated by Anne McLean
The Moldavian Pimp by Edgardo Cozarinsky and translated by Nick Caistor
The Story of Blanche and Marie by Per Olov Enquist and translated by Tina Nunnally
The Old Child by Jenny Erpenbeck and translated by Susan Bernofsky
Just Like Tomorrow by Faïza Guène and translated by Sarah Adams
Four Walls by Vangelis Hatziyannidis translated by Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife
The Successor by Ismail Kadare and translated by David Bellos
Stick Out Your Tongue by Ma Jian and translated by Flora Drew
Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream by Javier Marías and translated by Margaret Jull Costa
Vienna by Eva Menasse and translated by Anthea Bell
Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o and translated by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Havana Black by Leonardo Padura and translated by Peter Bush
A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by Atiq Rahimi and translated by Sarah Maguire and Yama Yari
Seeing by José Saramago and translated by Margaret Jull Costa
The Gaze by Elif Shafak and translated by Brendan Freely
Shyness and Dignity by Dag Solstad and translated by Sverre Lyngstad
Grace by Linn Ullmann and translated by Barbara Haveland


Anonymous said...

20 Jan, 2007

Dear Sharon,

Thank you for not only asking me to host today’s Writers Circle at MPH, One Utama but also thanks for sharing with everyone so much information. Personally, I felt lucky to receive so much good advice – advice that I'm sure took you years to accumulate.

Take care and I hope to see you soon.



bibliobibuli said...

welcome you are indeed, david. i also learned a lot, partic from nizam ... will blog it soon. but hey, one can't live on one's blog!!

Sufian said...

Olov Enquist has a new book!

bibliobibuli said...

i knew i'd lure you out with this post!

Sufian said...

I'm sure none of the books are available in this country...

Anonymous said...

Doesn't mean you can't order it off abebooks though.