2018 Best Translated Book Award Longlists


The longlists for the 2018 Best Translated Book Awards (Fiction and Poetry) have just been announced. The standard websites talk up the diversity on the lists (“the longlists reflect the diversity of international books published last year by featuring authors from twenty-five different countries, writing in eighteen languages, and published by twenty-six different presses.”), the role of translated literature and the usual debates about Dalkey Archive not getting a nominated title. Last year I was incensed about the omission of Arno Schmidt’s “Bottom’s Dream” (translated by John E. Woods) from the fiction longlist, this year I have a firm belief that there are a few titles that far exceed some of the books that did make the list, however this year I won’t be calling the award the “Second Best Translated Book Award”, I’ll flow with the offerings the judges have served up.

Interestingly not a lot of commentary since the announcement about the fact that only nine of the twenty-five fiction titles are by female writers (36%).

Of the fiction list, I’ve only read five of the listed titles and own a further five, it will be an impossible ask to get to all twenty-five before the shortlist announcement on 15 May and the winners on 31 May (considering I’m “off the grid” with no time to read between 15 May and 26 May!!!)

Of the poetry list I own four of the twelve titles, and hanging my head in shame, I’m yet to read any of them!!!

Over the coming weeks I’ll get to a few more titles and will post my thoughts wherever possible.

Here ae the lists, with links to reviews I have previously written.

Fiction Longlist

Incest by Christine Angot, translated from the French by Tess Lewis (France, Archipelago)

Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins (Canada, Coach House)

Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith (Iceland, Open Letter Books)

Compass by Mathias Énard, translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell (France, New Directions)

Bergeners by Tomas Espedal, translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson (Norway, Seagull Books)

The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden (Argentina, Open Letter Books)

Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis (Colombia, Europa Editions)

Affections by Rodrigo Hasbún, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes (Bolivia, Simon and Schuster)

Old Rendering Plant by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole (Germany, Two Lines Press)

I Am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy, translated from the Italian by Gini Alhadeff (Switzerland, New Directions)

You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Ross Benjamin (Germany, Pantheon)

Chasing the King of Hearts by Hanna Krall, translated from the Polish by Philip Boehm (Poland, Feminist Press)

Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo, translated from the French by Allison M. Charette (Madagascar, Restless Books)

My Heart Hemmed In by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (France, Two Lines Press)

Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac, translated from the Spanish by Roy Kesey (Argentina, Soho Press)

August by Romina Paula, translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft (Argentina, Feminist Press)

The Magician of Vienna by Sergio Pitol, translated from the Spanish by George Henson (Mexico, Deep Vellum)

The Iliac Crest by Cristina Rivera Garza, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker (Mexico, Feminist Press)

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell (Argentina, Riverhead)

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag, translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur (India, Penguin)

For Isabel: A Mandala by Antonio Tabucchi, translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris (Italy, Archipelago)

Ebola 76 by Amir Tag Elsir, translated from the Arabic by Charis Bredin (Sudan, Darf Publishers)

The Last Bell by Johannes Urzidil, translated from the German by David Burnett (Germany, Pushkin Press)

Radiant Terminus by Antoine Volodine, translated from the French by Jeffery Zuckerman (France, Open Letter)

Remains of Life by Wu He, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry (Taiwan, Columbia University Press)


Poetry Longlist

Adrenalin by Ghayath Almadhoun, translated from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham (Syria, Action Books)

Hackers by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Goransson (Sweden, Black Ocean Press)

Paraguayan Sea by Wilson Bueno, translated from the Portunhol and Guarani to Frenglish and Guarani by Erin Moore (Brazil, Nightboat Books)

Things That Happen by Bhaskar Chakrabarti, translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha (India, Seagull Books)

I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio, translated from the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas (Uruguay, Ugly Duckling Presse)

Astroecology by Johannes Heldén, translated from the Swedish by Kirkwood Adams, Elizabeth Clark Wessel, and Johannes Heldén (Sweden, Argos Books)

Magnetic Point by Ryszard Krynicki, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh (Poland, New Directions)

Third-Millennium Heart by Ursula Andkjaer Olsen, translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Denmark, Broken Dimanche Press)

Spiral Staircase by Hirato Renkichi, translated from the Japanese by Sho Sugita (Japan, Ugly Duckling Presse)

Directions for Use by Ana Ristović, translated from the Serbian by Steven Teref and Maja Teref (Serbia, Zephyr Press)

Before Lyricism by Eleni Vakalo, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich (Greece, Ugly Duckling Presse)

Iron Moon by Chinese Migrant Worker Poetry edited by Qin Xiaoyu, translated from the Chinese by Eleanor Goodman (China, White Pine Press)

5 thoughts on “2018 Best Translated Book Award Longlists

  1. The only review I can help with is with Beyond the Rice Fields, not an especially great book IMO, but notable because it’s the first novel from Madagascar to be translated into English (and it isn’t even written in Malagasy, it’s written in French). See https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/04/03/beyond-the-rice-fields-by-naivo-translated-by-alison-m-charette/
    I’m going to wait for the shortlist before I part with my hard-earned, for my money the MBTI is usually more rewarding.


    • I own this book too & saw your review when you published it recently, and I will eventually get to it, after a few more pressing priorities.
      Different tastes I’d say as the Man Booker International Prize list (for mine) is more of a “bestseller” prize – the BTBA throwing up some weird & wonderful stuff instead. This year though the Latin American influence is not as prominent.


  2. Come on Tony, a few extra batteries for your headlamp and you can knock back a few titles on the trail! 🙂 I’ve read four of the fiction titles and liked them a lot and have three more, two of which I’ll try to get to because they’re shorter. Beyond that there’s really only one or two I’d be keen to read. Not that I have a problem seeing them on the list, I just don’t think they are for me. But I am intrigued by the poetry. I’ve read one and have/or am expecting four more. Several other titles look interesting but are not available at the moment. And really, who am I fooling?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s