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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and Best Translated Book Award winners 2015

Today the two Awards that I follow very closely both announced their winners.

In London, at the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize judges announced  the winner of the 2015 Award. Jenny Erpenbeck’s “The End of Days” (translated by Susan Bernofsky) was the winner, making it the second female winner of the award and the first since 2001. The author and translator take home five thousand pounds each. Judge Boyd Tonkin said:

This is a novel to enjoy, to cherish, and to revisit many times. Into its brief span Jenny Erpenbeck packs  a century of upheaval, always rooted in the chances and choices of one woman’s life. It is both written and translated with an almost uncanny beauty, which grows not out of historical abstractions but from the shocks and hopes of everyday life, and from our common quest for peace, home and love. Re-reading this jewel of a book, I came to feel as if both W.G. Sebald and Virginia Woolf would recognise a kindred spirit here.  

For more details on the winner, the books listed for the award and more statements go to the Book Trust page

Over at the BookExpo America event in New York, the judges of the Best Translated Book Award announced thier winners of the Fiction and Poetry Prizes:

Can Xue’s “The Last Lover” translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, took out the award for fiction and Rocio Ceron’s “Dioarama”, translated by Anna Rosenwong, took out the poetry award. All writers and translators receiving $5,000 each.

The jury said, of Can Xue’s work:

The Last Lover was the most radical and uncompromising of this year’s finalists, pushing the novel from into bold new territory. Journeying though a dreamworld as strange yet disquietingly familiar as Kafka’s Amerika, The Last Lover proves radiantly original. If Orientalists describe an East that exists only in the Western imagination, Can Xue describes its shadow, offering a beguiling dream of a Chinese West. Annelise Finegan Wasmoen’s translation succeeds in crafting a powerful English voice for a writer of singular imagination and insight.

The judges names three runners-up in fiction, Harlequin’s Millions by Bohumil Hrabal (tr StacyKnecht), Faces in the Crowd by Veleria Luiselli (Tr Christina MacSweeney) and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante (tr Ann Goldstein).

For more details on the winners, including a statement that he poetry winner was “one of the most fascinating and important books to have been published in Mexico this century” go to Three Percent’s site 

Interestingly enough, Erpenbeck’s work did not make the twenty five longlisted titles for the Best Translated Book Award and Can Xue’s work was culled from the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist, not making the final six on that shortlist. Again, evidence that they are two very different prizes with two very different agendas. Happily I can report that I enjoyed both works.

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