November 8, 2019—The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is delighted to announce the winner for the 2019 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize. This prize, which was inaugurated in 2009, recognizes the importance of Asian translation for international literature and promotes the translation of Asian works into English. This year’s judges are Chenxin Jiang, Vivek Narayanan, and Hai-Dang Phan.
The award was announced during ALTA’s annual conference, ALTA42: Sight and Sound, being held this year from November 7-10 in Rochester, NY. As this year’s judges could not be in attendance, the award was presented by ALTA Vice President Ellen Elias-Bursac; as this year’s winner could not be in attendance, Steve Bradbury accepted the award on the winner’s behalf. The winner will be awarded a $5,000 prize.
Winner: The 2019 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize:
Autobiography of Death
By Kim Hyesoon
Translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi
The judges had the following to say about the title:
The alert and alerting Autobiography of Death by Kim Hyesoon transforms mourning into everyday news of unjust deaths, and into a clarion call for envisioning new life under different rules. To read these poems is to pass through a geography of catastrophe, exclusion, and violence, and to reach their end is to glimpse the necessity for rebirth. Hyesoon’s expansive line, serial composition, and plural address blast open a vital, shamanistic space for the dead to speak with, to, and through the living, and Don Mee Choi’s translations deftly activate a visionary poetry of great speed, volume, and vision. The collaboration between Hyesoon and Choi continues to energize and challenge contemporary world Anglophone poetry into a zone beyond borders.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Don Mee Choi is the author of DMZ Colony (Wave Books, 2020), Hardly War (Wave Books, 2016), The Morning News Is Exciting(Action Books, 2010) and several chapbooks and pamphlets of poems and essays. She has received a Whiting Award, Lannan Literary Fellowship, Lucien Stryk Translation Prize, and DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Fellowship. She has translated several collections of Kim Hyesoon’s poetry, including Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018), which received the 2019 International Griffin Poetry Prize.
The submissions portal for the 2020 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize will open in January 2020.