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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Best Translated Book Award and Stella Prize Winners 2014

Last week saw the announcement of two award winners, the United States based Best Translated Book Award and the Australian Stella Prize.

The Best Translated Book Award winner was taken out by László Krasznahorkai for the second year in a row, this year for “Seiobo There Below”, translated  from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet. The jury praised this novel for its breadth, stating “out of a shortlist of ten contenders that did not lack for ambition, Seiobo There Below truly overwhelmed us with its range—this is a book that discusses in minute detail locations from all around the globe, including Japan, Spain, Italy, and Greece, as well as delving into the consciousnesses and practices of individuals from across 2,000 years of human history.”

Runners up were also awarded to “The African Shore” by Rodrigo Rey Rosa (translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Gray) and “A True Novel” by Minae Mizumura (translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter). Having copies of the winner and “The African Shore” on my shelf at home, reviews will be forthcoming for both of them, as “A True Novel” runs to 880 pages I may not get to that one, but never say never.

The Award also announces a poetry in translation winner and this year it was taken out by “The Guest in the Wood” by Elisa Biagini (translated from the Italian by Diana Thow). According to the jury, “from the first, these surreal, understated poems create an uncanny physical space that is equally domestic, disturbing, and luminous, their airy structure leaving room for the reader-guest to receive their hospitality and offer something in return (the Italian ospite meaning both ‘guest’ and ‘host’). The poet’s and translators’ forceful language presses us to ‘attend and rediscover’ the quotidian and overdetermined realities of, as Angelina Oberdan explains in her introduction, ‘the self, the other, the body, and the private rituals of our lives.’” Runners up in the Poetry Award were “Four Elemental Bodies” by Claude Royet-Journoud (translated from the French by Keith Waldrop) and “The Oasis of Now” by Sohrab Sepehri (translated from the Persian by Kazim Ali and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati).

For more details on this year’s Award, including videos from the two winning writers visit the Rochester “Three Percent” site

Also last week the Stella Prize was announced, an award celebrating Australian women’s writing, it is named after Stella Maria ‘Miles” Franklin, one of Australia’s leading female authors. It was awarded for the first time in 2013. The award takes entries for both fiction and non-fiction books and this year it was the non-fiction “The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka” by Clare Wright that took the honour. A book that “sheds a bright new light on a dark old Australian story....Wright revisits that well-trodden territory (of the Eureka Stockade) from an entirely new perspective, unearthing images, portraits and stories of the women of 1850’s Ballarat and the parts they played not only in its society but also in its public life, as they ran newspapers, theatres and hotels with energy and confidence”.

For more information on the Stella Prize winner go to their website.

The next Award announcement that I’ll probably run here will be the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize winner shortly followed by the IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize winner.

In the interim if you’d like to keep up to date on Awards, reading challenges, news and other small snippets (that don’t justify a full blog post) then visit my new Facebook Page, “Like” and “Share”.

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