The National Book Foundation, an American non-profit organisation set up “to raise the cultural appreciation of great writing in America”, has announced the longlist for the 2018 National Book Awards. Established in 1936, the awards recognise works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young people’s literature, with the addition of a new category this year, for translated literature.
The inaugural longlist for the newly-established category includes Man Booker International Prize winner Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft, Trick by Domenico Starnone, translated by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri and Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s One Part Woman, translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan. Originally published in 2010 in Tamil as Madhorubagan, One Part Woman was translated into English in 2014 and the American edition of the novel is being published this year.
A story of a couple who desperately want a child, the novel attracted controversy in 2014 after local units of the BJP, RSS and other Hindu outfits objected to the book’s fictional portrayal of traditions at the Ardhanareeswarar temple in Tamil Nadu and demanded a ban on the book. In January 2015, Murugan declared his “death” as a writer. In July 2016, the Madras High Court dismissed the case against Murugan and the novel and the author returned with a new novel, Poonachi, in 2018. The book’s translator Aniruddhan Vasudevan is a writer and performer, in addition to being a translator, and writes in Tamil and English on dance, gender, sexuality and literature.
The finalists of the award will be revealed on October 10. Here is the complete longlist of ten titles for the 2018 National Book Award for Translated Literature:
- Disoriental, Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover
- Comemadre, Roque Larraquy, translated by Heather Cleary
- The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, Dunya Mikhail, translated by Dunya Mikhail and Max Weiss
- One Part Woman, Perumal Murugan, translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan
- Love, Hanne Ørstavik, translated by Martin Aitken
- Wait, Blink: A Perfect Picture of Inner Life, Gunnhild Øyehaug, translated by Kari Dickson
- Trick, Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
- The Emissary, Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani
- Flights, Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
- Aetherial Worlds, Tatyana Tolstaya, translated by Anya Migdal