Announcing the Winner of the 2020 National Translation Award in Prose: The Cheffe by Marie NDiaye, trans. Jordan Stump, pub. Alfred A. Knopf

October 15, 2020—The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 National Translation Award (NTA) in Prose! 2020 marks the twenty-second year for the NTA, and the sixth 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 prose are Amaia Gabantxo, Emmanuel D. Harris II, and William Maynard Hutchins.

This year’s winner was awarded at the ALTA’s 43rd annual conference, In Between, the first ALTA conference to be held virtually. The ceremony included a focus on the 2020 shortlist, presented by judge Emmanuel D. Harris, and the winner was featured in conversation with judge Amaia Gabantxo. The announcement was made on October 15, 2020 on the ALTA virtual conference platform Crowdcast, and is viewable there through 2020, and will be viewable after that at the ALTA YouTube channel. The winner will be awarded a $2,500 prize.

Winner: 2020 National Translation Award in Prose

The Cheffe: A Cook’s Novel
by Marie NDiaye
translated from French by Jordan Stump
(Alfred A. Knopf)

Whereas the applause soon turned to glorification of the Cheffe herself, and then ventured into the secret world of her presumed intentions, a longing to know her truest being, the only possible source for those sublime dishes.

The translator informs us that Cheffe is a new word in French, meaning “a female chef.” The novel, by French Senegalese Ndiaye, deftly parleys the language of culinary delight with the subtleties of nonverbal communication between a businesswoman and her challenging daughter. The enchanting text that results uncovers the histories behind an otherwise very public cheffe and her personal realities.

Jordan Stump is a Professor of French at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, specializing in twentieth and twenty-first century literature and literary translation.  He is the author of two studies of the writing of Raymond Queneau, Naming and Unnaming and The Other Book; he is also the English translator of some thirty works of  (mostly) contemporary French and Francophone literature, by authors such as Eric Chevillard, Marie Redonnet, and Antoine Volodine.  His most recent translations are Marie NDiaye’s That Time of Year (Two Lines Press) and Scholastique Mukasonga’s Igifu (Archipelago).

The 2021 National Translation Award in Prose submissions portal will be opened in January 2021.

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