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, 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.