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Leonid Yuzefovich wins the 2021 Big Book Prize













We’re thrilled to share that Leonid Yuzefovich has won the 2021 Big Book Prize, Russia’s most prestigious literary award, for his novel Philhellene. The Big Book is awarded annually for the best book in any genre written in Russian. It was established in 2005 by the Center for Support of Russian Literature.

For more information about the Big Book and to read the press release in Russian, please follow the link here.

In 2018, Archipelago published Yuzefovich’s Horsemen of the Sands, two masterful novellas translated by Marian Schwartz. Publishers Weekly wrote: “Shot through with a mythic and cipherlike style, Yuzefovich’s novellas are cogent depictions of faith, obsession, power, and the ties that bind.”

In the Times Literary Supplement, Anna Aslanyan wrote, “Without discarding realism, this finely counterpointed tale suggests that magic works only if one believes in it. The same can be said of fiction, and Leonid Yuzefovich’s writing certainly has what it takes to earn our trust.”

Leonid Yuzefovich, a historian and writer, was born in Moscow in 1947 and spent his childhood and adolescence in the Urals. After graduating from university in Perm, he served as an officer in the Soviet Army in the Trans-Baikal region from 1970 to 1972 and for many years taught history in high school and college. He began writing as a young man but did not become well known until 2001, after the publication of his detective novel trilogy about a real-life nineteenth-century police inspector, Ivan Putilin, which has been filmed several times and been translated into various languages. Yuzefovich was awarded the Big Book Prize for his novel Cranes and Pygmies in 2009, and has been shortlisted twice for the Russian Booker Prize.

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Listen to Hanne Ørstavik and Lisa Gozashti in conversation at Brookline Booksmith!

On November 13, Hanne Ørstavik joined Lisa Gozashti at Brookline Booksmith for a brilliant, thought-provoking discussion of Ørstavik’s novel The Pastor, translated from the Norwegian by Martin Aitken. A recording of their conversation is available now at the link here.

This virtual event was presented by Brookline Booksmith’s Transnational Literature Series. For more information, you can follow the link here.

Hanne Ørstavik, one of the most admired and prominent writers in contemporary Norwegian fiction, published her first novel Cut in 1994. Ørstavik has written a number of acclaimed novels that have been translated into more than 16 languages. She has been awarded a host of literary prizes, including the Dobloug Prize, presented annually for Swedish and Norwegian fiction by the Swedish Academy. The English translation of Love was a finalist for a National Book Award. Ørstavik’s novel Te Amo is forthcoming with Archipelago Books.

Lisa Gozashti is co-owner and manager of Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Massachusetts, one of New England’s premier independent bookstores since 1961.


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Allegria wins the 2021 National Translation Award in Poetry


We’re thrilled to share that Geoffrey Brock has won the 2021 National Translation Award in Poetry for his translation of Giuseppe Ungaretti‘s Allegria! The National Translation Award, which is administered by the American Literary Translators Association, is the only national award for translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction that includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work. This year’s judges for poetry are Sinan Antoon, Layla Benitez-James, and Sibelan Forrester.

“I will buy any book of poetry that Brock has translated,” the poet Ilya Kaminsky wrote of Allegria. “It is especially clear here, in the pages of Allegria, where the shortish lines test the translator’s ability to deliver nuance with light touch, precision, and almost Mozartian grace . . . This book will give you ‘a momentary stay against confusion.’ It is a beautiful gift.”

The jury wrote, “Ungaretti’s first book-length collection of poems appeared almost a century ago. It transformed modern Italian poetry and announced the arrival of a unique voice in world poetry . . . The slender poems celebrate life, inflecting its light, memory, and mystery, and seizing the eternal from the seemingly ephemeral in vivid and striking imagery. This elegant translation preserves Ungaretti’s economy and his pursuit of poetic purity.”

Famed for his brevity, Giuseppe Ungaretti’s early poems swing nimbly from the coarse matter of tram wires, alleyways, quails in bushes, and hotel landladies to the mystic shiver of pure abstraction. These are the kinds of poems that, through their numinous clarity and shifting intimations, can make a poetry-lover of the most stone-faced non-believer. Ungaretti won multiple prizes for his poetry, including the 1970 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He was a major proponent of the Hermetic style, which proposed a poetry in which the sounds of words were of equal import to their meanings. This auditory awareness echoes through Brock’s hair-raising translations, where a man holding vigil with his dead, open-mouthed comrade, says, “I have never felt / so fastened / to life.”

Geoffrey Brock is the author of three books of poems, the editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry, and the translator of numerous books of prose, poetry, and comics, most recently Last Dream by Giovanni Pascoli (World Poetry Books, 2019) and Allegria by Giuseppe Ungaretti (Archipelago, 2020). His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas, where he founded The Arkansas International.

You can find more information about the ALTA and Brock’s award here.

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Every Song Mentioned in Moldy Strawberries












We’re delighted to share a playlist of all the songs mentioned in Caio Fernando Abreu’s Moldy Strawberries, translated from the Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato. Featuring music by Angela Ro Ro, Caetano Veloso, Dalva de Oliveira, Billie Holiday, and Carlos Vardel, the list of songs offers an enchanting window into the world of the book, which navigates a Brazil transformed by the AIDS epidemic and stifling military dictatorship of the ’80s. The songs are listed in the order they appear in the book, as many of the stories have instructions like “to be read to the sound of…”. We encourage you to listen in anticipation of this striking collection, due out next spring.

The playlist was compiled by the book’s translator, Bruna Dantas Lobato. You can find the link to listen here.

Moldy Strawberries is out in April 2022. Suspended between fear and longing, Abreu’s characters grasp for connection. A man speckled with Carnival glitter crosses a crowded dance floor and seeks the warmth and beauty of another body. A budding office friendship between two young men grows into a “strange and secret harmony.” One man desires another but fears that their complot might crumble with one clumsy word or gesture. Junkies, failed revolutionaries, poets, and conflicted artists face threats at every turn. But, inwardly ferocious and resilient, they heal. For Abreu there is beauty on the horizon, mingled with the light of memory and decay.

Caio Fernando Abreu (1948-1996) was one of the most influential Brazilian writers of the 1970s and ’80s. The author of twenty books, including twelve story collections and two novels, he has been awarded major literary prizes, including the prestigious Jabuti Prize for Fiction a total of three times. During the military dictatorship in Brazil, his homoerotic writing was heavily censored. In 1994, while exiled in France, he tested HIV positive. He died two years later in his hometown.

Bruna Dantas Lobato received an MFA in Fiction from New York University and an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa. Her stories, essays, and translations from Portuguese have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon ReviewHarvard ReviewA Public SpaceBOMBTwo Lines, and Massachusetts Review. She was a 2018 A Public Space Fellow, a 2019 PEN/Heim recipient, and a Yaddo resident.

We hope you enjoy listening!


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Maja Haderlap wins the 2021 Christine Lavant Prize


We’re thrilled to share that Maja Haderlap — writer, poet, and translator from German and Slovenian — has won the 2021 Christine Lavant Prize for her extensive body of work! The prize honors a writer “who, like Christine Lavant, combines high aesthetic standards with a humane attitude and a socially critical view in their literary work.”

The jury wrote that Haderlap’s selection was “a tribute to one of the most important Austrian writers . . . In the centre is her novel Engel des Vergessens, 2011, (Angel of Oblivion), a story about a Slovenian-Carinthian family which presents the battle of Carinthian Slovenians against National Socialism and the humiliation that Slovenians in Austria were and are partly still exposed to.”

Tess Lewis’ translation of Angel of Oblivion, Haderlap’s autobiographical novel, was published by Archipelago in 2016. Malcolm Forbes of The National wrote that Angel of Oblivion is “a hymn to remembrance – one urging us to salvage and safeguard the shards of our past from the tide of history.”

distant transit, Haderlap’s collection of poems newly translated by Tess Lewis, is forthcoming with Archipelago in 2022. As Haderlap writes about a Slovenia transformed through linguistic assimilation and border violence, language comes to her as a confidant, but it takes many other shapes as well, even flying at her face like a flock of birds. In these poems, the material tendencies of language play out at the fraught border between Austria and Slovenia, and in Tess Lewis’ quicksilver translation, where “sentences must disrobe / begin to roam, learn to swim / not lose the memory that nests in / their bodies, a secret nucleus.”

In 2018, Haderlap was awarded the Max Frisch Prize of the City of Zurich. The jury wrote that her “poetry and prose combine poetic brilliance with explosive political power.”

Born into the Slovenian-speaking minority of Carinthia, Maja Haderlap’s writing brings alive the specter of linguistic assimilation and ethnic cleansing at the border between Austria and Slovenia. She studied German language and literature at the University of Vienna and has a PhD in Theatre Studies. Haderlap has published volumes of poetry and essays in Slovenian and German. She was awarded the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis and the Rauriser Literaturpreis for Engel des Vergessens (Angel of Oblivion).

More information about the Christine Lavant Prize can be found here, and in German here.