Two M'sian authors on international award longlist for women in translated literature

Books by authors Long Litt Woon (left) and Ho Sok Fong have made it to the longlist of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2020. Photo: Filepic

Two books from two Malaysian authors have made it onto the longlist for this year’s Warwick Prize For Women In Translation, an international award for women in translated literature.

They are Lake Like A Mirror, an anthology written in Chinese by Ho Sok Fong and translated by Natascha Bruce, and The Way Through the Woods, a memoir written in Norwegian by Long Litt Woon and translated by Barbara Haveland.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be longlisted for the Warwick Prize For Women In Translation 2020. This is an honour I share with my excellent translator Barbara Haveland. I feel proud to be among 16 strong candidates selected from over 130 nominations. Even if I do not win, it is already an achievement to be longlisted and I am very grateful, ” says Long, who was born in Taiping, Perak and now resides in Norway.

The Kedah-born Taiwan-based Ho is equally thrilled to be on the longlist.

“It is good news! The translation is really a very subtle interpretation, and Natascha (Bruce) has made the text feel so intimate. I feel wonderful that Lake Like A Mirror has been listed together with so many good books," says Ho.

This year’s Warwick Prize longlist contains 16 titles, chosen from 132 eligible entries representing 34 languages. The longlist covers 12 languages with Chinese, Danish, Hungarian and Italian all represented twice. It includes books from Argentina, Brazil, China, and Sudan.

“This year saw the biggest number of books entered, over twice that of 2017 when the prize began. As this unique prize has grown, so has the scope and range of the writing by women around the world that it salutes,” the competition judges said in a statement.

“It is gratifying to see that not only is there so much good writing by women in so many countries, but also that so much of it is now being translated. This planet-wide selection of remarkable writers, and their talented translators, will richly reward your attention.”

The Warwick Prize For Women In Translation is awarded annually to the best eligible work of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction, work of fiction for children or young adults, graphic novel, or play text, written by a woman, translated into English by a translator (or translators) of any gender, and published by a British or Irish publisher.

It was established in 2017 with the aim of addressing the gender imbalance in translated literature, and increasing the number of international women’s voices accessible to a British and Irish readership.

The 2020 prize is judged by Amanda Hopkinson, Boyd Tonkin and Susan Bassnett. Last year the prize was awarded to The Years (Fitzcarraldo Editions), written by Annie Ernaux and translated from French by Alison L. Strayer.

The winning book will receive a prize of £1,000 pounds (RM5,397), which is shared between the author and her translator.

A shortlist will be announced in early November. The winner will be announced in an online ceremony on Nov 26.

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