The 10 fiction finalists and six poetry finalists in the running for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award were announced Wednesday. The books were originally published in 11 languages, and were narrowed down from a longlist announced in March.
The finalists include a Nobel Prize winner -- Herta Muller -- and a number of authors less well-known in the U.S. One of the goals of the prize is to bring more attention to works in translation, which are sometimes overlooked by American readers.
Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. In 2009, "Tranquility" by Attila Bartis, translated from the Hungarian by Imre Goldstein, won the BTBA for fiction; one of the books it beat was Roberto Bolano's "2666," which reached American bestseller lists. Other winners of the BTBA's include the novel "Stone Upon Stone" by Wieslaw Mysliwski, translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston (Archipelago Books), the poetry collection, "The Russian Version" by Elena Fanailova, translated from the Russian by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler (Ugly Duckling Presse), and the novel "The True Deceiver" by Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal (New York Review Books).
The BTBA prizes award $5,000 each to both the original author and the translator of the book. It's one of the projects supported by Amazon's grantmaking program.