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Book Chat > 2018 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation

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message 1: by Marc (last edited Aug 05, 2018 06:19AM) (new)

message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 185 comments Thanks and very timely given August is Women in Translation Month for a lot of people. I have read 13 of them, pretty much all very high quality.

message 3: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
I had a feeling you'd have more than a handful of these already read, Paul. Favorites of the bunch? I like Erpenbeck and Kang, but have not read their entries for this contest. Tokarczuk's Flight is on my radar for the near future.

message 4: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2353 comments Marc, The three you mention are all excellent reads, and the only ones on the list I've read!

message 5: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
LindaJ^ wrote: "Marc, The three you mention are all excellent reads, and the only ones on the list I've read!"
Three seems impressive to me, Linda! I think I mentioned the only three authors I knew... There might be one or two others on that list whose names I've heard.

message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 185 comments Favourites - well Han Kang is one of my absolute favourite authors and Flights (which we awarded our shadow Man Booker International Prize) is quite brilliant.

River by Esther Kinsky hasn't got the attention it deserved.

And Daša Drndić, who died in June, is an important author and Belladonna, although not an easy read, very worthwhile.

All of them I have reviewed on GR.

message 7: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
Your reviews are probably why I recognize a couple of the other authors/titles on this list!

message 8: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 142 comments Thanks for sharing this list.

I have read two - The Things We Lost in the Fire and Lullaby.

I have the following - Flights, Go, Went, Gone, The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, The Impossible Fairytale, Abandon.

I just brought Hotel Silence home from the library

message 9: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
I love how much of this list just the three members who've chimed in have already covered (or soon will be)!

message 10: by Doug (new)

Doug I've read 'Lullaby' (meh!) and 'Vernon Subutex One' (which I liked a LOT), but DNF'd "I Am the Brother of XX' after two of the stories ... not my cuppa at all. Have copies of 'White Book' and 'Flights' but both will be backburnered till after the Booker noms get read.

message 11: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 12 comments I was not aware of the existence of this book but now that I am (thank you so much, Marc!) I can't tell you how excited I am for it.

Also, I find it so interesting that the prize publishes the eligible titles entered for the prize! I think that's absolutely something that should be adopted by other literary prizes (*coughs* the Booker *coughs*).

I have not read any of these titles specifically, but a whole bunch of them are on TBR. I think I now have an "excuse" to start reading them. :-)

message 12: by carissa (new)

carissa I've read 4 (Lullaby, Belladonna, Impossible Fairytale, Things We Lost) and have 3 waiting to be read (White Book, Flights, Go Went Gone). I attempted Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, but couldn't get into it.

Doug- what was it about I Am the Brother of XX that didn't work for you? If you recall...

Beverly-Let me know about Hotel Silence...

Paul-I'm looking up your reviews...thanks!

I've picked up/thought about The Dinner Guest and River...so, better just get them! Also, I read Virginie Despentes for the first time this year...and am a Fan!, so Vernon Subtex needs to happen also.

message 13: by Paul (last edited Aug 05, 2018 04:44PM) (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 185 comments The complete list of those I have read:

The White Book
The Harvest of Chronos
Go Went Gone
I am the Brother of Xx
Soviet Milk
The Impossible Fairy Tale
The Dinner Guest
Vernon Subutex 1

I would heartily recommend all except the last two although Vernon Subutex is more personal taste (I hated it, others love it) Dinner Guest was felt to be weak by pretty much the entire Shadow Jury for the MBI.

message 14: by Doug (new)

Doug carissa wrote: "Doug- what was it about I Am the Brother of XX that didn't work for you? If you recall..."

Well, first off, I am never really fond of the short story format, so don't know why I even bothered. But these, much like those in 'Darker With the Lights On', just seemed nonsensical and 'weird for weirdness sake' (see my parody of such in the comments under my review of that!) ... Unlike 'The Doll's Alphabet', which I actually DID enjoy.... but seemed to have more point.

message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 185 comments I have some sympathy with your views there Doug - I wanted to like I am The Brother of XX and can see she is an important writer but I can't say it worked for me. I left it on my recommend list above because I think people should at least try Jaeggy and form their own views.

(and of the Republic of Consciousness judges, I think it is now safe to reveal, some time after the event, that I wasn't exactly Darker Withs greatest champion either!).

message 16: by June (new)

June | 22 comments Thank you for posting this list! I know it's only the second year of the award, but I was a little concerned to see that in 2018 there were fewer titles, fewer languages represented, and by my count, fewer publishers submitting. Hopefully, that's not a trend that will continue.

I've read Things We Lost in the Fire, The White Book, and Flights. All good to excellent. I have Hotel Silence on hold at the library and will try to get hold of a few others without too much damage to my pocketbook!

message 17: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
Glad others are excited about and appreciative of this list.

Thankfully, someone else has done the heavy lifting here on GR and created a list for all of the eligible entries (aside from the one not yet listed on GR):
Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2018 Eligible Books. Now you can peruse and add to your TBR with ease here on GR.

message 19: by carissa (last edited Aug 08, 2018 01:28PM) (new)

carissa Thanks for the answers Doug and Paul.
My library had I Am the Brother of XX for instant download and I'm giving it a whirl....
on 8/8/18... I am smitten and need to find her other works asap.
To discover known authors Fleur Jaeggy and Virginie Despentes in the same year has made this a fruitful reading year!

message 20: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2713 comments Mod
I have only read three of these so far, but will definitely read the Erpenbeck at some point (I may wait for the paperback). Flights would be a strong contender, but has already won the Man Booker International.

message 21: by David (last edited Aug 09, 2018 07:36AM) (new)

David | 242 comments I just wanted to add a quick thought about the official description of the prize from their webpage. It reads,

"The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation will be awarded annually to the best eligible work of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction, work of fiction for children or young adults, or graphic novel, written by a woman, translated into English by a female or male translator, and published by a UK or Irish publisher. The £1,000 prize is divided between the writer and her translator(s), with each contributor receiving an equal share. In cases where the writer is no longer living, the translator will receive all of the prize money.

I added the emphasis because that part struck me as odd. They could have left that phrase out altogether, so why didn't they? I would imagine that since this is a prize for women writers and they are allowing male translators to be included they should be explicit about that so people won't be confused. But in 2018 the wording they chose should sound off for another reason. It either assumes all people are either male or female or (and this would be really bizarre) intentionally excludes people who are neither.

I have no doubt it is an honest oversight due to not thinking about the matter, but it would be very simple to change that phrase to " by translators of any gender ". My suggested revision has many virtues. It's more inclusive while being just as clear that male translators are eligible. It's shorter. And it includes the possibility of there being multiple translators for a single work, not just one. I would hope they eventually notice this and change the wording of the criteria. A prize that is based on concern for recognition of people who might not have gotten it previously because of their gender should welcome this sort of improvement.

message 22: by Marc (last edited Aug 09, 2018 07:43AM) (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
David, you make me wonder whether prizes like this have the potential to become caught up in the changing definitions of gender/identity. Your language solution used for the translators sounds like a good one. But what about the overall prize--do they define "Women"? Do they take a writer's self-identification at face/name value? I know this is a digression from your point, but seems a related, and perhaps increasingly relevant issue that any contest is going to have to deal with if the eligibility revolves around gender, sexuality, race, etc.

message 23: by David (last edited Aug 09, 2018 08:00AM) (new)

David | 242 comments Marc, I don't think we (yet) need to worry about the definition of "women". With gender identification generally we do (or should) take a person's sincere statement of their gender identity as being definitive, so there should not be any real question here. Even if the world were one where no one was trans and everyone fit clearly into either the "male" or "female" category, people could sometimes lie about their gender to win a prize, so changing understanding of gender does not make this an entirely new question.

Most writers have a public identity and they either publicly identify as women in their everyday life or they don't, so when it comes to a book prize the issue of the gender of the writer is usually clear. But the controversy over the real identity of Elena Ferrante and speculation that "she" might actually be a man suggests that this is not always clear. (I noticed that in the row of books in the picture on the Warwick website a Frerrante book is included.) The fact that so far they have been willing to go with taking her word for it (and that of her publisher) that she is a woman seems to have been enough.

message 24: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
I agree with you, with "yet" being the operative here. I am fully in favor of taking the writer's stated identity at face value. We do seem to be moving away from the broader, binary categories that many such prizes depend on. I hadn't even thought of someone like Ferrante, but then, for whatever reason, I always believed she was female (just a gut reaction, not based on any logic/research).

Did you write to them with your suggested revision? I hope so!

message 25: by David (new)

David | 242 comments Marc, I hadn't thought of writing to them directly. That might be a good idea. Thanks.

message 26: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
Good ideas should be shared!

message 27: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2157 comments Mod
I was going to suggest writing to them as well. As you said, it was probably an honest oversight, if so a simple reminder should encourage a course correction.

message 28: by David (new)

David | 242 comments I have news. I have just received an email reply to my comment about the description of the eligibility criteria. Here is that email, in full:

Dear David,

Many thanks for taking the trouble to write. We are absolutely happy to make that change and I will do so right away.

Very best wishes and many thanks for your interest in the Women in Translation Prize,

Chantal Wright

I just now checked their official webpage and indeed the wording now says, "...written by a woman, translated into English by a translator (or translators) of any gender...". Thanks again to Marc (and Whitney) for suggesting I write to them.

message 29: by Laurie (new)

Laurie David, how refreshing that you got a quick response and your suggestion was well received and implemented. Yay Warwick!

message 30: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Izaguirre (sweetji) | 122 comments Thanks for sharing about this prize. I wasn't aware of it but I will be checking out some of the books now. I just borrowed Memoirs of a Polar Bear from the library!

message 31: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2157 comments Mod
David wrote: "I have news. I have just received an email reply to my comment about the description of the eligibility criteria. Here is that email, in full:..."

Yay - good, job, David!

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