The shortlist has been announced and my favourite is still in contention
“The diversity of the 2020 shortlist is thrilling to see, both in terms of source languages represented but also from the point of view of genre”.
Dr Chantal Wright
Seven titles have been shortlisted for the fourth annual award of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation and I am delighted to report that my favourite read during lockdown, Letters from Tove by the late Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator and beloved creator of the Moomins, Tove Jansson, is among those still in the running.
The shortlist reflects the diversity of the record number of entries submitted to the prize in 2020 – a total of 132 of which 16 titles made the initial longlist. Included are three novels (one of which is epistolary), two collections of short stories, one collection of letters and a young adult novella. Of these, six source languages are represented, and the list is dominated by independent publishers.
Judge Boyd Tonkin commented: “Each book boasts a powerfully distinctive voice given fresh life in English thanks to a first-rate translation. Notably, this year’s shortlist also features previously untranslated work by three classic 20th-century authors: a reminder of the wealth of global women’s writing, past as well as present, that remains to be discovered by English-language readers.”
The £1000 prize was established by the University of Warwick in 2017 to address the gender imbalance in translated literature and to increase the number of international women’s voices accessible by a British and Irish readership. In 2020 the prize is being supported by the British Centre for Literary Translation and the British Comparative Literature Association.
Founder of the prize, Dr Chantal Wright of the University of Warwick’s School of Creative Arts, Performance and Visual Cultures is “especially pleased” that this year’s competition has gone ahead “despite the pandemic, in what has otherwise been an extremely challenging year for the arts.” She now looks forward to revealing the winning title in an online award ceremony on 26th November and celebrating the Prize’s fifth year within the framework of Coventry UK City of Culture in 2021.”
The full list of shortlisted titles, in alphabetical order:
Abigail by Magda Szabó, translated from Hungarian by Len Rix (MacLehose Press, 2020)
Happiness as Such by Natalia Ginzburg, translated from Italian by Minna Zallman Proctor (Daunt Books Publishing, 2019)
Lake Like a Mirror by Sok Fong Ho, translated from Chinese by Natascha Bruce (Granta Publications, 2019)
Letters from Tove by Tove Jansson, edited by Boel Westin & Helen Svensson, translated from Swedish by Sarah Death (Sort of Books, 2019)
The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, translated from German by Charlotte Collins & Ruth Martin (Scribe UK, 2019)
Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Rania Mamoun, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette (Comma Press, 2019)
White Horse by Yan Ge, translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman (HopeRoad Publishing, 2019)