Many moons ago, I was in a Book Club with a member who proclaimed we should “never” read translated fiction. “After all,” she loved to stress, “we’ll never run out of fiction written in the English language.”
Yes, technically I suppose this is true. But what a narrow world view…
Not surprisingly, I didn’t stay in that Book Club long.
I do make an effort to read novels in other languages, but of course I’m still missing so much of the good literature that’s out there this way. I think it’s important that as many good novels as possible are translated into English and find their way into that (large) market. That’s why I was so happy to learn about the EBRD Prize for Literature, sponsored by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The prize is awarded to a novel originally written in another language and translated into English. The first year’s short list has been announced.
There are lots of Balkan entries here, which I look forward to reading. Of the six, I’m already familiar with the Albanian author Ismail Kadare and Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk – but the rest are all new to me. Looking forward to new discoveries (for me). Another nice aspect of this prize is that the award is divided by the author and his or her translator.
We’ll know the winner in April. Until then, I have some reading to do.