Posts filed under 'btba'

In Review (again): Best Translated Book Award-winner Signs Preceding the End of the World, by Yuri Herrera

"Lisa Dillman’s recreation of Herrera’s Signs in English is deserving of its own neologistic praise."

Signs Preceding the End of the World begins with a gaping sinkhole, swooping to rush open, our protagonist Makina deftly moving away and  on with her day. So we might consider the language of Yuri Herrera’s writing and Lisa Dillman’s translation into English: opening up before us, perhaps cataclysmic, rushing, yet simultaneously unruffled, pithy.

As Dillman notes, it is especially timely for this book to come to fruition. In this era of extreme fear-mongering, insisting on farcical walls being erected at illusory borders, this novel ventures into themes and questions of migration, immigration, transnationalism, transculturalism, language hybridity, and, of course, death and the end of the world—which these days seems to be looming ever-closer on our horizon.

We follow Makina as she journeys to track down her brother on the other side of the US-Mexican border. Makina is a character eluding cliché and expectation, with a sort of quiet, no-nonsense demeanor but also a brittle resilience that manages to subvert machismo and, furthermore, the eye-roll-worthy genres of feisty damsel or unrealistically sexualized waif. Makina is dexterous in her actions, observations, and expressions. Dillman writes her reflections with pointed beauty. For example, once Makina reaches US territory:

They are homegrown and they are anglo and both things with rabid intensity; with restrained fervor they can be the meekest and at the same time the most querulous of citizens, albeit grumbling under their breath. Their gestures and tastes reveal both ancient memory and the wonderment of a new people. And then they speak. They speak an intermediary tongue that Makina instantly warms up to because it’s like her: malleable, erasable, permeable; a hinge pivoting between two like but distant souls, and then two more, and then two more, never exactly the same ones; something that serves as a link.


Weekly News Roundup, 6 May 2016: The Best. Translated. Book.

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote! The biggest news this week is that of the official announcement of Three Percent‘s Best Translated Book Award winners, so we won’t keep you waiting: in the fiction category, Mexican novelist Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, translated by Lisa Dillman, took home top honors (you can read a review the blog published preceding the award here—we totally called it). And in the poetry category, Rilke Shake by Brazilian author Angélica Freitas and translated by Hilary Kaplan snagged top honors. Big congratulations to the winning writers, translators, publishers, editors, and readers! READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 1st April 2016: Not April Fool’s Day

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote! It’s April Fool’s (Fools’?) Day today, but I promise I won’t prank you—this roundup-writer is far too pooped from the last week of March to even think about the kinds of deep-cut literary jokes you’d find funny. Plus, too many serious (and big) things happening this week to distract you: AWP is going on right as we speak in Los Angeles, and a number of you are likely checking out all the translation offerings via the famous, tempting ALTA Bookfair Bingo—right?  READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup: 25 September 2015: Poets! Prizes! Judging! You!

This week's literary highlights from across the world.

Happy Friday, Asymptote! This week marked the excited announcement of the poetry judges for our very-special-favorite book award—Three Percent‘s Best Translated Book Award. In the poetry-judging lineup is the blog’s very own co-editor and GIF extraordinaire Katrine Øgaard Jensen, among many other qualified and interesting names. But Katrine’s got plenty of award-reading experience: she judged last year’s BTBA fiction prize, too. If you’re interested in BTBA-buzz (the best kind there is!), it’s worthwhile to catch up on some early, “On Location” 2016 musings, featuring French writer Anne Garréta, William Burroughs, and Czech phenom Bohumil Hrabal. READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 10th April 2015: BTBA vs. VIDA vs. IFFP?

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday! The time has finally arrived for the Best Translated Book Award longlist… After weeks of blog- and social-media hype, both the fiction and poetry longlists have been announced, and we can’t say we aren’t impressed! The lineup includes, among others, several Asymptote friends, like Faces in the Crowd author and blog contributor, Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli, blog interviewee and Translation Tuesday featurette Danish author Naja Marie Aidt, deceased Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal (featured in another Translation Tuesday dedication), Chinese interviewee and Nobel-deserving Can Xue, and many, many more. It’s definitely worth taking a peek through the list—I’ve no idea how the judges managed to narrow it down (at Three Percent, Chad Post laments the books he thought would make it—but didn’t), nor how they’ll be able to pick a winner from such a strong group.  READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 8th August 2014: Slang-xplaining, Winning Prizes and Judging Them

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Prescriptive grammarians may enjoy this, even if it destabilizes their strict sense of right and wrong: Slate has detailed the 250-year-long grammatical quibble over the correct use of “hopefully,” that ever-present eye twitch of incorrect adverbial usage. Also related: the same website explains why certain adjectives just sound right in one way, and not the other. If your eyes aren’t tearing up with that twitch yet, take a look at io9′s ambitious compilation of the most disastrous typos in Western history.

Meanwhile, in the same spirit of chronological grammar-mapping, The Atlantic has compiled a web app history of the New York Times’ stiff slang explanations (example: “Diss, or a perceived act of disrespect”). And the game-side disputes can finally end: Scrabble has added over five thousand new terms to its updated player dictionary, including such witticisms as “sudoku” (shouldn’t that be a proper noun?), “buzzkill,” and “vlog.”


Asymptote Editor and Contributor News, April Edition

Productive as ever, Asymptote's phenomenal editors and contributors continue to shake up the literary world

Contributor News

Dolan Morgan’s short story collection, That’s When the Knives Come Down, is now available for presale. Eric Nelson writes in Electric Literature that the “unparalleled voice of this debut is surely one that will be copied, but not replicated by future writers,” and other critics have called the work “devlishly clever” and “wry, seductive, and breathtaking.” Read the work’s synopsis, and watch its trailer for a preview of the work’s humor and surrealism.

Contributors to our very first issue Efe Murad and Sidney Wade have won the first annual Meral Divitci Award for their translation of The Selected Poems of Melih Cevdet Anday. Stay tuned: we hear that the book will be released next year.

Bitter Oleander Press also has a new release from Asymptote contributors John Taylor and José-Flore Tappy. Sheds/Hangars is a bilingual volume that collects all of José-Flore Tappy’s poetry to date for the first time in English translation. We can’t wait to read this work, which translator Taylor previously discussed in Asymptote’s January 2012 issue (as it turns out, Taylor’s essay became a substantial part of his introduction).

Italy’s MART (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto) presents the work of Sherman Ong, guest artist for Asymptote’s July 2011 issue, in a new exhibition called Lost in Landscape,” dedicated to contemporary landscape and its many meanings. Ong is shown alongside Marina Abramović, Agnès Varda, and Michael Wolf in this important show—so don’t miss out!


Weekly News Roundup, 14th March 2014: BTBA (yay!), Illustrated texts

A look at some of the most important literary news of the past week

We report on book prize-awarding every week here at the Roundup, but it isn’t often that we’re so giddy to see some nominations: our friends at Three Percent have announced the longlist for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award, awarded in categories of both fiction and poetry. We’re especially happy to see the remarkably diverse longlist include several Asymptote alums, past and present: our very own Howard Goldblatt, Asymptote contributing editor, is up for his translation of Mo Yan’s Sandalwood Death (read Goldblatt’s recent essay about his relationship with author Huang Chunming here!), Mircea Cărtărescu, longlisted for Blinding (excerpted in our October 2013 issue), Arnon Grunberg for Tirza (Grunberg’s piece on J.M. Coetzee here), last year’s winner Lászlo Krasznahorkai for Seibobo Here Below (read his remarkable short prose in our July 2013 issue, translated by blog contributor Ottilie Mulzet), Javier Marías’ The Infatuations, translated by the venerable Margaret Jull Costa (interviewed here), Stig Sætterbakken’s Through the Night (don’t miss our review from our January issue), and many, many more—phew! One thing’s for sure: we don’t envy the difficult decisions those judges have got to make in the coming weeks.