2019 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation shortlist announced

Six titles have been shortlisted for the third annual award of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.

The £1000 prize was established by the University of Warwick in 2017 to address the gender imbalance in translated literature and to increase the number of international women’s voices accessible by a British and Irish readership.

Last year the prize was awarded to the novel Belladonna (Maclehose Press), written by the late Daša Drndić and translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth. The inaugural prize was awarded to Memoirs of a Polar Bear (Portobello Books, 2017), written by Japanese-German writer Yoko Tawada and translated from German by Susan Bernofsky.

Among the shortlistees this year is Olga Tokarczuk, who was recently announced as the recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. Tokarczuk is on the shortlist with literary crime novel Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Translator Lloyd-Jones appears on the longlist for the third year running.

The 2019 competition received a total of 92 eligible entries of which 13 titles made the initial longlist. The six shortlisted titles include four novels, one collection of poetry and a memoir.

Five source languages are represented: Farsi, French, Hungarian, Polish and Spanish (Argentina); two of the shortlisted writers have Iranian roots.

The full list of longlisted titles, in alphabetical order, is as follows:
  • Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, translated from French by Tina Kover (Europa Editions, 2018)
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tocarczuk, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018)
  • Katalin Street by Magda Szabó, translated from Hungarian by Len Rix (Maclehose Press, 2019)
  • Negative of a Group Photograph by Azita Ghahreman, translated from Farsi by Maura Dooley with Elhum Shakerifar (Bloodaxe and The Poetry Translation Centre, 2018)
  • People in the Room by Norah Lange, translated from Spanish by Charlotte Whittle (And Other Stories, 2018)
  • The Years by Annie Ernaux, translated from French by Alison L. Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018)
Judge Amanda Hopkinson comments: “This year our list contains titles that reflect on wars and displacement, change and adaptation. Memoir becomes more than memories in numerous personalised – and intermittently fictionalised – recollections. Boundaries of genre are blended and reshaped, for this shortlist well illustrates how memory does not recall chronologically, nor does it conform to historical norms.”

Prize coordinator, Dr Chantal Wright of the University of Warwick’s School of Creative Arts, Performance and Visual Cultures, comments: “ Linguistically, the list appears to be dominated by European languages but this belies the fact that, culturally, our six titles range from France to Eastern Europe to South America and the Middle East.”

The winner will be announced in an evening ceremony at The Shard in London on Wednesday 20 November. For further information about the prize, please contact the coordinator Chantal Wright at womenintranslation@warwick.ac.uk or on 02476 573092, or Tom Frew in the Warwick press office at A.T.Frew@warwick.ac.uk.


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