November 1, 2018—The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 National Translation Awards (NTA) in Poetry and Prose! 2018 marks the twentieth year for the NTA, and the fourth year to award separate prizes in poetry and prose. The NTA, which is administered by ALTA, is the only national award for translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction that includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work.
This year’s judges for poetry are Kareem James Abu-Zeid, Jennifer Feeley, and Sawako Nakayasu. This year’s prose judges are Esther Allen, Tess Lewis, and Jeremy Tiang.
Congratulations to this year’s winners!
Winner: 2018 National Translation Award in Poetry
by Ursula Andkjær Olsen
translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen
(Action Books & Broken Dimanche Press)
Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s compelling work travels through dark chambers of desire, power, and creation, conjuring up a feminist space where culture and nature wage war with one another, where psychology and anatomy merge to create a uniquely modern mytho-poetics. Katrine Øgaard Jensen’s masterful translation has a strong rhythm all its own, and captures the book’s jarring quality in a remarkably smooth rendering. By the end of this insidious text, the reader is just as “namedrunk” as the book’s enigmatic lyrical subject, and discovers that their own “heartspace,” too, has been torn open, dissected, and beautifully recreated.
Winner: 2018 National Translation Award in Prose
by Mathias Énard
translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell
Words from the judges: This virtuosic and engaging meditation on how the ‘Orient’ has shaped Western thought and art and been shaped in turn is also a love letter to countries and cultures that have been damaged nearly beyond recognition. Over the course of a sleepless night, a Viennese musicologist broods over an ominous diagnosis and recalls with bittersweet wryness his unrequited love for Sarah, a brilliant scholar of Middle Eastern cultures. He punctuates his monologue with adventures and misadventures of a colorful cast of historical figures. Charlotte Mandell conveys the exhilaration, complexity and intellectual relish of Énard’s prose with every ounce of the original’s energy.
Submissions for the 2018 National Translation Awards will be accepted starting in January 2019. Please visit us at www.literarytranslators.org/awards for more information.