We are delighted to announce that the following books have received awards for the first half of 2012:
Ryszard Kapuścinśki: The Biography, by Artur Domosławski, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
This is the definitive biography of one of the most significant journalists of the twentieth century. From postcolonial Africa to revolutionary Iran, from the military dictatorships of Latin America to Soviet Russia, the Polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuścinśki was one of the most dauntless and important eyewitnesses of his time. In his committed reporting of the great revolutions of the age, and his resolute anti-colonialism, Kapuścinśki created a new genre of creative reporting: one that brought him immense renown in the Western world. In this biography, Artur Domosławski shines new light on the personal relationships of this intensely charismatic, highly private man, and the intractable issue at the heart of Kapuścinśki's life and work: the question of where journalism ends and literature begins. Close to Kapuścinśki, and with unparalleled access to his private papers, Domosławski traces his mentor's footsteps and delves into the files and archives that Kapuścinśki himself examined.
To be published by Verso.
The Lady from Tel Aviv, by Rabai al-Madhoun, translated from the Arabic by Elliott Colla
In the economy class of a plane bound for Tel Aviv, the lives of two passengers intersect: Waleed Dahman, a Palestinian novelist returning to Gaza for the first time in thirty-eight years; and Dana Ahova, a famous Israeli actress seeking the comforts of home after the disappearance of her boyfriend. Desperate for consolation, Dana confides in Waleed. Soon, forgotten fears resurface - Dana's paranoid fear for her own life and Waleed's suspicions about Mossad. As the night sky hurtles past, the course of both their lives begins to change, and so too does the novel that Waleed is working on. By the time Waleed arrives in Gaza, he seems no more real - and no less imaginary - than his fictional character. The Lady from Tel Aviv is one of the great achievements of modern Arabic literature. At times a literary thriller, an exploration about lost family history and a meditation on the nature of fiction itself, it is, above all, a reflection on Palestinian identity and exile.
To be published by Telegram Books.
The Last of the Vostyaks, by Diego Marani, translated from the Italian by Judith Landry
As a child, Ivan and his father worked as forced labourers in a mine in Siberia, the father having committed some minor offence against the regime. He is then murdered in front of his young son, after which Ivan - who is a Vostyak, an imaginary ethnic group of whose language he is the last remaining speaker - is struck dumb by having witnessed his father's murder. Some twenty years later the guards desert their posts and Ivan walks away free, together with the other inmates. Guided by some mysterious power, he returns to the region he originally came from… A roller-coaster ride whisking the reader alternatively through zones of darkness, hilarity, cruelty, tenderness, the near-lubricious, and pleasingly light-hearted yet telling considerations on the nature and life and death of languages; and that's without even mentioning the sub-plots.
To be published by Dedalus Books.
The World Record, by various poets and translators
The World Record is an international anthology of work by poets from all the countries taking part in the 2012 London Olympics, featuring a translated poem from each of the 204 Olympic nations, from Armenia to Tuvalu, Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan. With this book you can discover the world through its keenest observers, political activists and most articulate wordsmiths. There's something for every taste: new voices as well as world greats, rappers and spoken-word artists as well as poets and storytellers. The World Record marks the first time so many living poets from so many countries have been gathered together in one anthology - and 2012 is the first time so many poets have been gathered in one place. Up to 204 poets come together in London for Poetry Parnassus, a week-long celebratory gathering as part of the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, the Festival of the World and the London 2012 Festival. Poetry Parnassus is a monumental poetic happening worthy of the spirit and history of the Olympics. Introduced by the festival's curator, Simon Armitage, The World Record shows how poetry crosses all international boundaries to speak to readers everywhere.
To be published by Bloodaxe Books.
'Once again Writers in Translation is delighted to support an exciting and eclectic choice of excellent books which will contribute to the 'bibliodiversity' of the UK book scene.' Ros Schwartz, Chair, Writers in Translation
We're also looking forward to supporting the delayed publication of these two excellent titles:
The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, translated from the French by Frank Wynne
Born to a Jewish family in Paris, 1925, Lanzmann's first encounter with radicalism was as part of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation. He and his father were soldiers of the underground until the end of the war, smuggling arms and making raids on the German army. After the liberation of France, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. In Paris he met Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and started an affair with the latter that would last for seven tumultuous years. He became the editor of her political-literary journal - a position which he holds to this day - and joined the ranks of the most important literary and philosophical figures of post-war France. Lanzmann's memoir is a cry of witness to the 20th century that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. To be Published by Atlantic Books
Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by John Fletcher
This is the story of three French women of African heritage who refuse to be bowed by circumstances or submit to expectations. Forty-year-old Norah leaves Paris, her family and her career as a lawyer to visit her father in Dakar. It is an uncomfortable reunion - she is asked to use her skills as a lawyer to get her brother out of prison - and ultimately the trip endangers her marriage and her relationship with her daughter, and drives her to the very edge of madness. Fanta, on the other hand, leaves Dakar to follow her husband Rudy to rural France. And it is through Rudy's bitter and guilt-ridden perspective that we see Fanta stagnate with boredom in this alien, narrow environment. Khady is forced into exile from Senegal because of poverty, because her husband is dead, because she is lonely and in despair. With other illegal immigrants, she embarks on a journey which takes her nowhere, but from which she will never return. To be published by MacLehose Press