A record 21 titles, from 19 countries and 18 languages, are among the winners of English PEN's translation awards, which are selected "on the basis of outstanding literary quality, the strength of the publishing project, and their contribution to U.K. bibliodiversity." This year's honorees include novels, short story collections, poetry for children and illustrated memoir, and--for the first time--titles from Guatemala and North Macedonia, as well as work translated from the Macedonian, Montenegrin and Isaan dialect of Thai. Among the awarded titles is what critics have called "the first queer Macedonian novel." See the complete list of PEN Translates winners here.
Will Forrester, translation and international manager at English PEN, said: "It's not by chance that we are awarding a record number of books in this round of PEN Translates. We received submissions from more publishers than ever, for an outstandingly diverse and ambitious set of titles--testament to the vitality of translated literature publishing. These 21 books are significant works of literature, remarkable in their variety: vernacular magical realism from the border of Thailand and Laos, an illustrated travelogue, Italian gothic autofiction, poetry for children from Guatemala, and Egyptian speculative fiction represent just a quarter of the works supported. This is a thrilling set of books, and English PEN is thrilled to be helping them get to U.K. readers."
So Mayer and Preti Taneja, co-chairs of the English PEN translation advisory group, commented: "With brilliant books from, among others, Guatemala, Mozambique, Thailand and Albania, this PEN Translates round is a compelling snapshot of global literature. Including three books that pair women writers and translators, as well as bold queer writing from North Macedonia, Russia and Chile. This has been an extremely strong round, and our selections showcase U.K. publishers committed to taking risks and building communities. We're particularly delighted to include illustrated books for younger and older readers, and welcome four emerging small presses as first-time awardees. The depth and range represented shows PEN Translates, and literature in translation in the U.K., in an expansive mood, one we hope to continue."