Thursday, 20 February 2014

Schirach and Lust Nominated for LA Times Book Prizes

I know nothing about the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes except that they're awarded on 11 April and come in lots of different categories. Among them are Graphic Novel/Comics and Mystery/Thriller, and two names looked oddly familiar: Ulli Lust for Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (trans. Kim Thompson) and Ferdinand von Schirach for The Collini Case (trans. Anthea Bell).

How exciting! An Austrian graphic novelist and a German crime writer, nominated for American book prizes! On the one hand I'm very pleased that the awards don't discriminate between books written in English and books written in other languages, simply singling out good stuff. But then there's the fact that the LA Times website doesn't mention the translators' names, or indeed the fact that the books are translated. And that I had to spend a while searching for Schirach's translator, because neither does the Penguin website. Pretty poor show all round.

Lucas Klein foams at the mouth – justifiably so – about how reviewers need to toughen up and name the translator at Words Without Borders. Awards – and publishers! – need to do the same. The LA Times awards come with a small prize of $500 each, but even that ought to be shared between writer and translator. I've written them a friendly email.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Katy! If even famous translators like Anthea Bell don't get mentioned, what hope is there for the rest of us peasants?