Post WFC, Part 2

9 11 2009

Author Alan DeNiro, a Michigan Clarion vet I met at WFC, has a few neat roundups of WFC events here. In his Day 2 report, he mentions the Fantasy in Translation panel, where critic and blogger Cheryl Morgan announced the tremendously exciting Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards, for works of foreign-language speculative fiction translated into English.

She gave fervent argument for the award, which is really her brainchild: “In running the Science Fiction Awards Watch web site, I see non-English speaking countries all around the world give awards for translated fiction. Only in English-speaking countries are translations not specifically rewarded. We aim to change that.”

The first awards are expected to be presented in 2011, for works published in 2010. Already the list of organizers at the site is impressive: Other members of the energetic and informative panel included Viz Japanese fiction editor Nick Mamatas, Weird Tales editor Ann VanderMeer, Guest of Honor Zoran Živkovic, IMPAC-longlisted author of Escher’s Loops, and Israeli editor-translator Rani Graff.
As Small Beer is bringing out Châteaureynaud’s selected stories, A Life on Paper, in May, I admit to having a personal stake in this. Apparently there just weren’t enough nominees to fill out this award category in past years! I’d love to see this trend overturned next year: new translations by Michael Kandel, Doryl Jensen, or Sheryl Curtis? New work by Johanna Sinisalo, or from Japan, or the Philippines?

I’m about to head off for the annual American Literary Translators Association conference, where I hope to stir up notice and enthusiasm for this award. It feels like “mainstream” and “genre” literatures are both turning to translations, and it seems like these “worlds,” if separate they are, should cooperate, should be able to pool promotional resources and lend mutual support in this respect. The theme of the Words Without Borders December issue is speculative fiction. Editor Susan Harris used to publish Lem and Zivkovic. What better way to kick off cooperation?

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