Graphic novel wins Society of Authors Translation Prize for first time

Graphic novel wins Society of Authors Translation Prize for first time

A graphic novel won an award for the first time at the Society of Authors’ Translation Prize ceremony tonight (13th February).

Sophie Yanow’s translation of Pretending is Lying by Belgian artist Dominique Goblet (New York Review Comics) scooped the £1,000 Scott Moncrieff Prize for English translations from French. The work sees Goblet examining the most important relationships in her life and judges praised Yanow for "gracefully taking on the constraints of the pre-drawn speech bubbles as well as the approximations of unsaid feelings and sounds and animal cries".

The prize was one of seven awards for translated literature handed out at the British Library ceremony, with prize money totalling £15,000.

Paula Johnson, head of prizes and awards at the society, told the audience that current “inward-looking times” meant translations were “more necessary and more important than ever”. Translators who attended opted to read from the original text and their own versions, rather than give traditional speeches.

Among the winners were Janet Hong and her editor Ethan Nosowsky who received the £2,000 TA First Translation Prize for Korean novel The Impossible Fairy Tale by Han Yujoo (Tilted Axis Press). Their work was described by judges as “a mighty achievement” that required “phenomenal dexterity, balance and perseverance”.

The John Florio Prize, a biennial £2,00 award for translation from Italian, went to Gini Alhadeff for her “flawless” work on story collection I Am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy (And Other Stories).

Tony Crawford picked up the £3,000 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his “engaging and often highly amusing” treatment of Navid Kermani ‘s reflections on Christianity, Wonder Beyond Belief by (Polity Press).

The Bernard Shaw Prize went to Frank Perry for his translation from Swedish of Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs by Lina Wolff (And Other Stories). Thanking the author, Perry called it “the most wonderful novel that I heartily recommend to you all to read”.

Later in the evening, Megan McDowell was awarded the Premio Valle Inclán Prize for translating Seeing Red by Lina Meruane (Atlantic) from Spanish. The £3,000 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic translation when to Luke Leafgren for The President’s Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli (MacLehose Press). Judges said the smooth translation "conveys beautifully the spirit and idiosyncrasies of the original”.