Announcing the 2017 Italian Prose in Translation Award Shortlist!

August 21, 2017—The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2017 Italian Prose in Translation Award. Starting in 2015, the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) recognizes the importance of contemporary Italian prose (fiction and literary non-fiction) and promotes the translation of Italian works into English. This prize is awarded annually to a translator of a recent work of Italian prose (fiction or literary non-fiction). This year’s judges are Elizabeth Harris, Jim Hicks, and Olivia Sears.

The award-winning book and translator for 2017 will receive a $5,000 cash prize, and the award will be announced during ALTA’s annual conference, ALTA40: Reflections/Refractions, held this year at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown in Minneapolis, MN from October 5-8, 2017. If you can’t join us in person, follow our Twitter (@LitTranslate) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/literarytranslators) for the announcement of the winners!

The 2017 Italian Prose in Translation Award Shortlist (in alphabetical order by title):

Distant Light
By Antonio Moresco
Translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon
(Archipelago Books)

Eva Sleeps
By Francesca Melandri
Translated from the Italian by Katherine Gregor
(Europa Editions)

Primo Levi’s Resistance: Rebels and Collaborators in Occupied Italy
By Sergio Luzzatto
Translated from the Italian by Frederika Randall
(Metropolitan Books)

We Want Everything
By Nanni Balestrini
Translated from the Italian by Matt Holden
(Verso Books)

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IPTA 2017 Shortlist: Distant Light

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2017 Italian Prose in Translation Award. Starting in 2015, the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) recognizes the importance of contemporary Italian prose (fiction and literary non-fiction) and promotes the translation of Italian works into English. This prize is awarded annually to a translator of a recent work of Italian prose (fiction or literary non-fiction). This year’s judges are Elizabeth Harris, Jim Hicks, and Olivia Sears.

Distant Light
By Antonio Moresco
Translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon
(Archipelago Books)

Distant Light, translated by Richard Dixon, is the first full-length work to appear in English by Antonio Moresco, one of Italy’s most revered contemporary writers and author of the magnificent trilogy, L’increato (“The Uncreated”). In Distant Light, we find an isolated narrator mysteriously living in an abandoned village, and talking to the plants and the creatures around him: “‘But why are you always so angry,’ ” he asks the wasp that stings him. “‘Why do you drop headfirst into the pulp of unpicked fruit that’s rotting on the trees in this unearthly place?’ ” Each night, the narrator sees a small light on the mountain above his stone house, leading him, finally, to search for the light’s source: a child living alone in the woods and seemingly of another time. It is a secretive novel, fable-like, yet insistently modern as well, a fascinating book filled with questions, a contemplation of solitude and our ties to the natural world and to the living and the dead. Dixon’s translation captures the cadences of Moresco’s prose and his lush, vivid imagery, while also successfully navigating between the narrative’s tangible world and its challenging, metaphysical reflections.

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IPTA 2017 Shortlist: Eva Sleeps

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2017 Italian Prose in Translation Award. Starting in 2015, the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) recognizes the importance of contemporary Italian prose (fiction and literary non-fiction) and promotes the translation of Italian works into English. This prize is awarded annually to a translator of a recent work of Italian prose (fiction or literary non-fiction). This year’s judges are Elizabeth Harris, Jim Hicks, and Olivia Sears.

Eva Sleeps
By Francesca Melandri
Translated from the Italian by Katherine Gregor
(Europa Editions)

A bestseller in Italy, Francesca Melandri’s debut novel Eva Sleeps, translated by Katherine Gregor, is set against the stark and dramatic Dolomite mountains and southern Alps in the now-autonomous region of northern Italy known as Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The region’s name alone hints at its tortured history following annexation by Italy during World War I: in addition to the Fascist “Italianization” program that outlawed German language and separatist revolts, marked by sabotage and bombings, South Tyrol has also seen a constant flow of southern Italian immigrants into the region, stoking regional and cultural prejudice. Melandri’s novel follows a single family through the course of the twentieth century. Focusing on Gerda and her daughter Eva, its story explores the power of prejudice and sexual taboo to constrain women, along with the attempts of strong women to wrest back control over their lives. Gregor’s translation negotiates the constant dramatic switches in narrative voice with agility and beautifully captures the many tones of various time periods woven through the novel, from remote mountain village dialogues during the early twentieth-century to the contemporary banter of a crowded train compartment.

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IPTA 2017 Shortlist: Primo Levi’s Resistance

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2017 Italian Prose in Translation Award. Starting in 2015, the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) recognizes the importance of contemporary Italian prose (fiction and literary non-fiction) and promotes the translation of Italian works into English. This prize is awarded annually to a translator of a recent work of Italian prose (fiction or literary non-fiction). This year’s judges are Elizabeth Harris, Jim Hicks, and Olivia Sears.

Primo Levi’s Resistance: Rebels and Collaborators in Occupied Italy
By Sergio Luzzatto
Translated from the Italian by Frederika Randall
(Metropolitan Books)

Primo Levi’s Resistance: Rebels and Collaborators in Occupied Italy—by the historian Sergio Luzzatto, translated into English by Frederika Randall—tells for the first time the story of the days preceding Primo Levi’s capture and subsequent deportation to Auschwitz. In taking on this tale, Luzzatto is also compelled to reveal what, in his Periodic Table, Levi memorably described as an “ugly secret [that] weighed on us, in every one of our minds: the same secret that had exposed us to capture, and just a few days before had extinguished all our will to resist, even to live.” Mining the depths of this illuminating episode (from a period when, in Italy, World War II became a civil war as well as a war of liberation), Luzzatto’s history shows the complexity of the choices as well as the sometimes random events that determined the fates of both antifascist partisans and the defenders of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic. As Luzzatto follows both sides, the voice and gravitas of Primo Levi act as his spiritual guide, and, in its final pages, the book’s refrain is borrowed from Cesare Pavese: “Every war is a civil war: every man who falls resembles another who lives, and calls on him to explain.” This ultimately impossible work of explanation is in effect Luzzatto’s great achievement; in English, he is aided at every step by Frederika Randall, first through her preface, which provides historical background essential for the Anglophone reader, and then by her admirably clear, concise, and cogent phrasing.

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IPTA 2017 Shortlist: We Want Everything

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2017 Italian Prose in Translation Award. Starting in 2015, the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) recognizes the importance of contemporary Italian prose (fiction and literary non-fiction) and promotes the translation of Italian works into English. This prize is awarded annually to a translator of a recent work of Italian prose (fiction or literary non-fiction). This year’s judges are Elizabeth Harris, Jim Hicks, and Olivia Sears.

We Want Everything
By Nanni Balestrini
Translated from the Italian by Matt Holden
(Verso Books)

Nanni Balestrini’s We Want Everything (1971), translated for the first time into English by Matt Holden, is unabashedly political—a novel, as Rachel Kushner says in her introduction, that is deeply original and that “succeeds on three different levels simultaneously, as a work of astounding art, a document of history, and a political analysis that remains resonant to the contradictions of the present.” We witness the awakening of an unnamed narrator in 1960s Italy, a worker from the south who migrates north to participate in Italy’s “economic miracle,” only to find the stultifying work conditions of a Turin Fiat plant to be intolerable. The protagonist participates in strikes that were a part of what has come to be known as Italy’s “hot autumn” of 1969. The novel’s magic comes by way of its narrator: vibrant and compelling, the narrative voice is also harsh, and keeps its distance. As the story continues, this voice, still vibrant, speaks increasingly for an entire group of exhausted, enraged workers—and yet the novel avoids being dogmatic or propagandistic. As the legendary leftist Luciana Castellina has put it: Ballestrini created the first true novel in Italy about workers. In English, the complexity and nuance of the narrative voice, shifting seamlessly between the spoken word and descriptions of a new political movement, are of course the work of Matt Holden; his excellent translation remains remarkably true to Balestrini’s original while never faltering as a work of gritty art.

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