Amazon’s literary translation division AmazonCrossing has announced that it will be carrying English translations of Brazilian works from 2015.
The works that will be translated as part of an initial Kindle offering to begin in 2013 will include short stories by Cristovão Tezza, winner of the Sao Paolo prize for literature, writer and translator Paloma Vidal, feminist author Ivana Arruda Leite, and novelist and short story writer Ana Paula Maia.
These stories will be followed in 2014 by works from prizewinning writers Tércia Montenegro, author of major works like The Seller of Judas, Railway Line and The Rest of Your Body at the Aquarium and Claudia Lage, author of Mundos de Eufrásia.
Some of the most recent bestsellers from AmazonCrossing include novels translated from a range of different languages such as Last train to Istanbul, translated from Turkish, Dark Days (Apocalypse Z),translated from Russian and The Hangman’s Daughter, translated from German.
Amazon has got firmly behind literary translation since forming AmazonCrossing in 2010, underwriting the Best Translated Book Award 2013 run by the University of Rochester with a cash prize. The award is given to works of fiction that have outstanding contributions from the translator, editor and publisher as well as the author. There is also an award for the best translations in poetry for that year.
The Best Translated Book award has been running since 2008, and was installed to recognise and award books and translators equally for bringing lesser known works to an English speaking audience. The 2013 award was given to the English translation of Satantango, a 1985 novel by the Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai translated by George Szirtes.
Previous winners of the award include Guantanamo by Dorothea Dieckmann, translated from German by Tim Mohr in the award’s inaugural year in 2008, Tranquility by Attila Bartis, translated from Hungarian by Imre Goldstein in 2009, The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven, translated from Hebrew by Dalya Bilu in 2010, The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson, translated from Swedish by Thomas Teal in 2011 and Stone Upon Stone by Wiesław Myśliwski, translated from Polish by Bill Johnston was the winner in 2012.
Winners of the award can be works that are translated from any language into English, with other literary translation awards focused more on specific translations like the Popescu prize which is given only for translating European language poetry into English or the Rossica prize which is awarded for the best Russian to English literary translation.
With backing from Amazon, the depth of fiction that is now being translated is encouraging for authors who do not write in English but who want to see their works circulated to a wider audience, as well as the increased diversity of fiction that can now be read in the English speaking world.
This diversity is important, and with finalists that have encompassed languages as different as Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Hungarian, this can only mean increased opportunities for readers who want to discover works of fiction that were not written in their native tongue and are about topics that the reader may not come across in fiction produced only in English.
AmazonCrossing has delivered a big boost to non-English speaking authors, and with the latest winner of the Man Booker prize going to its youngest ever winner Eleanor Cotton at 28, the message to young authors is one of optimism. As well as being the youngest author, Cotton also wrote the longest book ever to win the world’s most prestigious literary prize, her novel The Luminaries lasting 832 pages and proved that there is room for open-minded novelists in the publishing industry.