Announcing Recipients of the 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund

May 27, 2015
Written by

The Translation Fund, now celebrating its twelfth year, is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s competition. The Fund received a record number of applications this year—226 total—spanning a wide array of languages of origin, genres, and eras. From this vast field of applicants, the Fund’s Advisory Board—Esther Allen, Mitzi Angel, Peter Blackstock, Howard Goldblatt, Sara Khalili, Michael F. Moore*, Declan Spring, and Alex Zucker—has selected sixteen projects which will each receive a grant of $3,100 to assist in their completion (*Voting Chair of the PEN/Heim Advisory Board).

Winners of the 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants

Allison M. Charette for her translation of Beyond the Rice Fields, by Naivo. Set in the early 1800s, this historical novel uses dual narrators—a slave boy and his first owner—to depict the era when Madagascar was ruled by a monarchy and first being settled by Europeans. In a prose teeming with color and energy, Charette brings to life the first novel from Madagascar ever to be translated into English. (Available for publication)

Jennifer Croft for The Books of Jacob, the twelfth novel by Olga Tokarsczuk, one of Poland’s most highly acclaimed contemporary novelists. Jennifer Croft’s translation brings to life the historical figure of Jacob Frank, Messianic leader of a mysterious 18th-century Jewish splinter group that believed in “purification through transgression.” (Available for publication)

Stephan Delbos and Tereza Novická for their translation of The Absolute Gravedigger, the culmination of Vítězslav Nezval’s work as the leading poet of Czech surrealism. Published in 1937, this book of poems is not only a dark and prescient avant-garde document of Europe in crisis, but highlights Prague as the twin capital of surrealism with Paris. Delbos and Novická do us all a service with their devoted translation. (Forthcoming from Twisted Spoon Press)

 Amanda DeMarco for her translation of New Inventions and the Latest Innovations by Gaston de Pawlowski. First published in French in 1916, Pawlowski’s book is a catalog of absurd imaginary gadgets and “improvements,” an early satire on consumer society and the cult of the inventor. DeMarco’s translation perfectly captures the humor of a work that has only grown more relevant with time. (Forthcoming from Wakefield Press)

Adriana X. Jacobs for her translation of The Truffle Eye, the 2013 debut collection of poems by Vaan Nguyen. Born in Israel to Vietnamese refugees, Nguyen, writing in Hebrew, explores points of contact and friction between her Vietnamese heritage and her native-born Israeli identity. As Jacobs notes, the truffle resists domestication, and she skillfully incorporates this resistance into her inspired translation. (Available for publication)

Roy Kesey for The Cousins, by Aurora Venturini. An Argentinean novelist praised by Enrique Vila-Matas and Alan Pauls, Venturini was not discovered until she was eighty-five. This novel tells the story of a dysfunctional lower-middle-class family in La Plata during the nineteen-forties, and is fabulously translated by Roy Kesey. (Available for publication)

Lee Klein for Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in San Salvador, by Horacio Castellanos Moya. In what Roberto Bolaño called his best work, Castellanos invokes Bernhard’s most characteristic mode: the electrifying tirade. Lee Klein’s sinuous English proves that this rant is for anyone who feels let down by their native culture. (Available for publication)

Dong Li for his translation of The Gleaner Song, by Chinese poet Song Lin. In pieces selected by the poet and translator from thirty years of published work, the poet has engaged the world, East and West, creating a landscape of his extensive travels. Varying in form from short lyrics to long, serial poems, Song has, in the words of his accomplished translator, produced a “personal anthropology of our migratory world.” (Available for publication)

Meg Matich for her exquisite translations of Cold Moons, a collection of deceptively simple ecopoetry by Icelandic poet Magnús Sigurðsson who was born in 1984. She has deftly rendered the prosody of the young poet’s short, highly cadenced, enjambed verse in lines of images drawn from nature, often in the context of incursions by the modern world into this sparsely populated land of poets and sagas. (Available for publication)

Jacob Moe for his translation of Part Time Dragons by Maria Mitsora. Since the 1970s, Mitsora has been publishing short stories which refract modern Greek life through the lens of its mythological past. Part Time Dragons collects sixteen short stories from across Mitsora’s forty-year career, rendered in a lucid translation that preserves their essential strangeness. (Forthcoming from Yale University Press)

Rajiv Mohabir for his translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s Holi Songs of Demerara. Published in 1916, Sharma’s collection of folksongs is the only known literary work to be written by an indendured Indo-Caribbean writer. One of hundreds of Indians indentured to work the sugarcane fields in Guyana, Sharma’s mesmerizing songs, in Mohabir’s deft and elegant translation, tell of life on the plantations, of labor, love, loss, and longing. (Available for publication)

Takami Nieda for her translation of GO, by Kazuki Kaneshiro. GO is a testament to the universality of teenage experience and a window into the life of a zainichi Korean student. Takami Nieda’s fluid translation captures Kaneshiro’s humor and social criticism, evoking a distinct compelling voice in the tradition of Salinger and Sherman Alexie. (Available for publication)

Zoë Perry for Opisanie Świata, the award-winning debut novel by Brazilian writer Veronica Stigger. With her exquisite translation, Perry introduces to the English-speaking world a stunning and tantalizing novel by a young writer on the cutting-edge of Brazilian literature. (Available for publication)

Will Schutt for The Selected Poems of Edoardo Sanguineti. In his sparkling, playful and dynamic versions, Schutt introduces the English reader to the full sweep of Sanguineti’s protean oeuvre, from the neo-avantgardist of the early ’60s to the more introspective romantic poet of the later years. This is the first comprehensive English translation of one of post-war Italy’s most important poets. (Available for publication)

Sophie Seita for her translation of Subsisters: Selected Poems, by Uljana Wolf. Wolf’s globalized, border-crossing poetry seems uniquely disposed to translation while also presenting many challenges. Sophie Seita’s rendition remixes Wolf’s German-English mélange to create a translation that is at once new and yet also brilliantly reflects the original. (Forthcoming from Belladonna*)

Simon Wickhamsmith for The End of the Dark Era, by Mongolian poet Tseveendorjin Oidov. This book of about a hundred poems is one of the few avant-garde collections to come out of that region. Simon Wickhamsmith’s translations bring the poems across eloquently and beautifully. (Available for publication)

Categorised in:

This post was written by admin