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South Sudan title among PEN Translates award-winners

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Nineteen books from 15 countries and 13 languages have won English PEN’s flagship translation awards, including the first novel from South Sudan ever to be published in the UK.

The PEN Translates award-winners include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories and children’s literature from a range of publishers, with indie And Other Stories scoring two titles on the list.

Among them is Eddo’s Souls by Stella Gaitano (Dedalus, June 2021), originally published in South Sudan and translated from Arabic by Sawad Hussain. The winners also include the first title awarded from Guadeloupe (Waiting for the Waters to Rise by Maryse Condé, translated from French by Richard Philcox, to be published by World Editions in April 2021) and the first book translated from Latin that PEN has awarded (On the Nature of the Universe (Book 1) by Lucretius, translated from Latin by Emma Gee, published by Arc Publications in June 2020). 

Stella Gaitano
She is the First South Sudanese to have had a novel to be published in the UK known as ‘Eddo’s Soul’. The novel is due out in June 2021 from Deladus, translated from Arabic by Sawad Hussain.

Will Forrester, translation and international manager at English PEN, said: “In an unprecedented moment – in which it is vital to support the publishing sector and continue to foster its diversity – I am pleased that PEN Translates continues its imperative support for international literature. These 19 awards go to books of extraordinary variety, united in being exceptional works of literature. English PEN is thrilled to be able to help bring them to English-language readers, and to continue our work in nurturing a diverse literary landscape.”

Ros Schwartz, co-chair of the English PEN Writers in Translation Committee, added: “The panel was impressed by the quality and diversity of the submissions, and the range of publishers applying. We are delighted at the outcome, which represents a very broad linguistic and geographical spread across diverse genres, as well as a good gender balance – with almost two-thirds of the awarded books by women writers, and over half translated by women.”

Books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, the strength of the publishing project, and their contribution to UK bibliodiversity.

The PEN Translates award winners are listed in full below:

  • The Divorce by César Aira, translated from Spanish by Chris Andrews (And Other Stories, May 2021). Country: Argentina.
  • All Men Want to Know by Nina Bouraoui, translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins (Viking, August 2020). Country: France.
  • Waiting for the Waters to Rise by Maryse Condé, translated from French by Richard Philcox (World Editions, April 2021). Country: Guadeloupe.
  • La Straniera by Claudia Durastanti, translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris (Fitzcarraldo Editions, April 2021). Country: Italy.
  • Eddo’s Souls by Stella Gaitano, translated from Arabic by Sawad Hussain (Dedalus, June 2021). Country: South Sudan.
  • Puppets by Daniela Hodrová, translated from Czech by Elena Sokol and Veronique Firkusny (Jantar Publishing, July 2020). Country: Czech Republic.
  • New Passengers by Tine Høeg, translated from Danish by Misha Hoekstra (Lolli Editions, September 2020). Country: Denmark.
  • Me and the Robbersons by Siri Kolu, translated from Finnish by Ruth Urbom (Stripes Publishing, March 2021). Country: Finland.
  • When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut, translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West (Pushkin Press, September 2020). Country: Chile.
  • On the Nature of the Universe (Book 1) by Lucretius, translated from Latin by Emma Gee (Arc Publications, June 2020). Country: Ancient Rome.
  • Our Daily Bread by Predrag Matvejević, translated from Croatian by Christina Pribichevich-Zorić (Istros Books, July 2020). Country: Croatia.
  • Brown and Yellow by Paulo Scott, translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn (And Other Stories, September 2021). Country: Brazil.
  • Songs by Ribka Sibhatu, translated from Italian by André Nafis-Sahely (Poetry Translation Centre, July 2020). Country: Italy.
  • War of the Beasts and the Animals by Maria Stepanova, translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale (Bloodaxe, September 2020). Country: Russia.
  • Chinatown by Thuan, translated from Vietnamese by Nguyen An Ly (Tilted Axis, November 2021). Country: France.
  • There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura, translated from Japanese by Polly Barton (Bloomsbury, November 2020). Country: Japan.
  • A Decolonial Feminism by Françoise Vergès, translated from French by Ashley J. Bohrer (Pluto Press, March 2021). Country: France.
  • The Book of Ramallah (Comma Press, February 2021). Country: Palestine.
  • Accursed Poets: Dissident Poetry from Soviet Russia 1960-80, translated from Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky (Smokestack, August 2020). Country: Soviet Union.

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