The 2023 National Book Awards Longlist: Translated Literature

This week, The New Yorker is announcing the longlists for the 2023 National Book Awards. This morning, we presented the ten contenders in the category of Young People’s Literature. Check back tomorrow morning for Poetry.

Five titles on this year’s longlist for Translated Literature are set in Latin American countries. Two novels, “Abyss,” by Pilar Quintana, and “The Devil of the Provinces,” by Juan Cárdenas, take place in Colombia. Astrid Roemer’s “On a Woman’s Madness” depicts a queer Black woman’s romance with an older woman in the capital of Suriname. Stênio Gardel’s “The Words That Remain” recounts its narrator’s upbringing in Northern Brazil. The stories in “This Is Not Miami,” by Fernanda Melchor, chronicle horrifying, quotidian violence in and around Veracruz, Mexico.

Other nominated works feature characters looking for personal freedom as their worlds collapse: in Khaled Khalifa’s “No One Prayed Over Their Graves,” two men, one Christian and one Muslim, reconstruct their lives after a flood destroys their Syrian village. “Kairos,” by Jenny Erpenbeck, sets an affair between a young woman and a married writer in his fifties against the backdrop of the fading German Democratic Republic. The ten books being considered for the award were originally published in seven different languages. Six honorees have previously been recognized by the National Book Awards. The full list is below.

Juan Cárdenas, “The Devil of the Provinces
Translated from the Spanish by Lizzie Davis
Coffee House Press

Bora Chung, “Cursed Bunny
Translated from the Korean by Anton Hur
Algonquin Books / Hachette Book Group

David Diop, “Beyond the Door of No Return
Translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Jenny Erpenbeck, “Kairos
Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
New Directions Publishing

Stênio Gardel, “The Words That Remain
Translated from the Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato
New Vessel Press

Khaled Khalifa, “No One Prayed Over Their Graves
Translated from the Arabic by Leri Price
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Fernanda Melchor, “This Is Not Miami
Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes
New Directions Publishing

Pilar Quintana, “Abyss
Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman
World Editions

Astrid Roemer, “On a Woman’s Madness
Translated from the Dutch by Lucy Scott
Two Lines Press

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, “The Most Secret Memory of Men
Translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud
Other Press

The judges for the category this year are Geoffrey Brock, whose translation of Giuseppe Ungaretti’s “Allegria” received the National Translation Award in Poetry; Arthur Malcolm Dixon, the co-founder of the online journal Latin American Literature Today; Cristina Rodriguez, a former bookseller; T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, a professor of humanities at Vanderbilt University; and Jeremy Tiang, who has translated more than twenty books from Chinese.

Published on The New Yorker here

The New Yorker
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