October 16, 2021—The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 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 Stiliana Milkova, Minna Zallman Proctor, and Will Schutt.
This year’s winner was awarded at the ALTA’s 44th annual conference, Inflection Points, held jointly virtually and in-person in Tucson, AZ. The ceremony was held virtually, and included a focus on the 2021 shortlist, presented by judge Stiliana Milkova. Because the winner could not be present, he recorded a statement and reading. The announcement will be viewable on the ALTA Crowdcast channel. The winner will be awarded a $5,000 prize.
Winner: 2021 Italian Prose in Translation Award
Diary of a Foreigner in Paris
By Curzio Malaparte
Translated from Italian and French by Stephen Twilley
From the judges:
Stephen Twilley has given us a pitch-perfect translation of Curzio Malaparte’s unfinished chronicle of his stay in France and Switzerland in 1947 and 1948. As Malaparte writes in his preface, the diary is “a theatrical work brought to the boards of the page,” more fabulist than factual, overlain with unforgettable scenes, brief sketches, tall tales, and sweeping (at times dubious) pronouncements on the character of the French and the emergence of a new breed of European after the war. Diary of a Foreigner in Paris also presents readers with a memorable portrait of the diarist: a complicated figure, a former fascist who professes his antifascism, a social butterfly who prefers the company of dogs, a war correspondent who likes nothing better than a good story. As Edmund White points out in his inspired introduction, Malaparte may have been less important for his ideas than for his gifts as a sentence-maker; whether he is commenting on the blotting paper Proust wrote on (“a pale stain of India ink…a shadowy embroidery of branches, a forest in a fog”) or skewering the manners of Sartre’s followers (“those of a new, artificial bohemianism, which proposes to replace principles with slovenliness, ideas with a sweater”), Malaparte, in Twilley’s finely wrought translation, is delicious to read.
Stephen Twilley is a freelance copyeditor and literary translator. From 2013 to 2021 he was managing editor of the online review Public Books, where he also served a term as section editor for literature in translation. His own translations from the Italian include Francesco Pacifico’s The Story of My Purity, Marina Mander’s The First True Lie, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Professor and the Siren, and Curzio Malaparte’s Diary of a Foreigner in Paris. Among his current translation projects is the definitive biography of Malaparte, by Maurizio Serra. He lives with his wife and son in Chicago.
The 2022 Italian Prose in Translation Award submissions portal will be opened in January 2022.