75 Notable Translations 2023

December 5, 2023

The covers to ten books from the Notable Translations list belowIn an interview up at the Booker Prizes, 2023 International Booker Prize–winning translator Angela Rodel describes the work of author and translator as a “duet.” Here we offer seventy-five duets in another year with many more to celebrate. We hope you’ll add those we’ve missed on our social media channels using the hashtag #2023InTranslation.

Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of the first in what will be an annual series, the Best Literary Translations 2024 anthology, expected in April. Published by Deep Vellum, the five editors drew from five hundred submissions from more than eighty countries and close to sixty languages. Nominations for the second volume are open through January 5, 2024.

But before moving on, we should pause and appreciate book reviewers, who play a vital role in getting translations into readers’ hands. Reviewing translations is a core part of World Literature Today’s mission, and we’re grateful to our reviewers for their thoughtful, incisive reviews, which remind us of the importance of reading beyond borders. For example, Lucie Nolden, in her review of The Fires, Larissa Kyzer’s English translation of Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir’s Icelandic novel, concludes: “Proponents of more translated fiction argue that our culture needs an influx of ideas and art from around the world to stay fresh and relevant, and The Fires is the unlikely messenger of the words Americans need to hear most right now, delivered straight from the land of fire and ice. Just like Anna, it is more imperative than ever that we listen to our intuition and heed the warnings of a warming planet. Otherwise, we risk everything.”

Similarly, Nicole Yurcaba, in her review of Lyudmyla Khersonska’s Today Is a Different War, translated by Olga Livshin, Andrew Janco, Maya Chhabra, and Lev Fridman, writes, “Today Is a Different War is shocking, and these poems are contemporary battle cries and documentaries, observations and declarations. The collection reminds readers and the publishing world why decolonizing literature and uplifting oppressed voices is imperative at this point in history.” May the decolonizing and uplifting continue.

Thank you for being in conversation with us this past year. We wish you good health and good reading in 2024.

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Again I Hear These Waters, trans. Shalim M. Hussain (Tilted Axis Press)

Bachtyar Ali, The Last Pomegranate Tree, trans. Kareem Abdulrahman (Archipelago Books)

Maram Al-Masri, The Abduction, trans. Hélène Cardona (White Pine Press)

María Fernanda Ampuero, Human Sacrifices, trans. Frances Riddle (The Feminist Press)

Shushan Avagyan, A Book, Untitled, trans. Deanna Cachoian-Schanz (Awst Press)

Maru Ayase, The Forest Brims Over, trans. Haydn Trowell (Counterpoint)

Asja Bakić, Sweetlust, trans. Jennifer Zoble (The Feminist Press)

Hussein Barghouthi, The Blue Light, trans. Fady Joudah (Seagull Books)

Jazmina Barrera, Cross-Stitch, trans. Christina MacSweeney (Two Lines Press)

Yevgenia Belorusets, War Diary, trans. Greg Nissan (New Directions)

Rosa Beltrán, Free Radicals, trans. Robin Myers (Katakana Editores)

Léonie Bischoff, Anaïs Nin: A Sea of Lies, trans. Jenna Allen (Fantagraphics Books)

Carmen Boullosa, The Book of Eve, trans. Samantha Schnee (Deep Vellum)

Juan Cárdenas, The Devil of the Provinces, trans. Lizzie Davis (Coffee House Press)

Kalyani Thakur Charal, I Belong to Nowhere: Poems of Hope and Resistance, trans. Mrinmoy Pramanick & Sipra Mukherjee (Tilted Axis Press)

Mohamed Choukri, Tales of Tangier, trans. Jonas Elbousty (Yale University Press)

Mia Couto, The Drinker of Horizons, trans. David Brookshaw (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Marija Dejanović, Kindness Separates Night from Day, trans. Vesna Maric (Sandorf Passage)

East Jerusalem Noir, ed. Rawya Jarjoura Burbara, trans. Roger Allen, Marilyn Booth, Catherine Cobham, Raphael Cormack, Sawad Hussain, Dr. Nazih Kassis, Nancy Roberts, and Max Weiss (Akashic Books)

Elektrik: Caribbean Writing, trans. various (Two Lines Press)

Dorothee Elmiger, Out of the Sugar Factory, trans. Megan Ewing (Two Lines Press)

Mathias Énard, The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers’ Guild, trans. Frank Wynne (New Directions)

Annie Ernaux, Look at the Lights, My Love, trans. Alison L. Strayer (Yale University Press)

Jenny Erpenbeck, Kairos, trans. Michael Hofmann (New Directions)

Luis Felipe Fabre, Recital of the Dark Verses, trans. Heather Cleary (Deep Vellum)

Julia Fiedorczuk, Psalms, trans. Bill Johnston (University of Wisconsin Press)

Jon Fosse, A Shining, trans. Damion Searls (Transit Books)

Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, The Naked Tree, trans. Janet Hong (Drawn & Quarterly)

Juan Gómez Bárcena, Not Even the Dead, trans. Katie Whittemore (Open Letter Books)

Knut Hamsun, Editor Lynge, trans. Rick Schober (Tough Poets Press)

Yuri Herrera, Ten Planets, trans. Lisa Dillman (Graywolf Press)

Homer, The Iliad, trans. Emily Wilson (W. W. Norton)

Kim Hyesoon, Phantom Pain Wings, trans. Don Mee Choi (New Directions)

Tatsuhiko Ishii, Bathhouse and Other Tanka, trans. Hiroaki Sato (New Directions)

Haji Jabir, Black Foam, trans. Sawad Hussain & Marcia Lynx Qualey (Amazon Crossing)

Marina Jarre, Return to Latvia, trans. Ann Goldstein (New Vessel Press)

Ismail Kadare, A Dictator Calls, trans. John Hodgson (Counterpoint Press)

Han Kang, Greek Lessons, trans. Deborah Smith & Emily Yae Won (Penguin Random House)

Juhani Karila, Fishing for the Little Pike, trans. Lola Rogers (Restless Books)

Maki Kashimada, Love at Six Thousand Degrees, trans. Haydn Trowell (Europa Editions)

Hiromi Kawakami, Dragon Palace, trans. Ted Goossen (Stone Bridge Press)

Maylis de Kerangal, Eastbound, trans. Jessica Moore (Archipelago Books)

Khaled Khalifa, No One Prayed over Their Graves, trans. Leri Price (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Chiang-Sheng Kuo, The Piano Tuner, trans. Howard Goldblatt & Sylvia Li-chun Lin (Arcade)

Nicola Lagioia, The City of the Living, trans. Ann Goldstein (Europa Editions)

Jhumpa Lahiri, Roman Stories, trans. Jhumpa Lahiri & Todd Portnowitz (Knopf)

Yan Lianke, Heart Sutra, trans. Carlos Rojas (Grove Press)

Oksana Lutsyshyna, Ivan and Phoebe, trans. Nina Murray (Deep Vellum)

Nina Lykke, Natural Causes, trans. B. L. Crook (Open Letter)

Laurent Mauvignier, The Birthday Party, trans. Daniel Levin Becker (Transit Books)

Fernanda Melchor, This Is Not Miami, trans. Sophie Hughes (New Directions)

Ahmed Naji, Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison, trans. Katharine Halls (McSweeney’s)

Andrés Neuman, Bariloche, trans. Robin Myers (Open Letter)

No Edges: Swahili Stories, trans. various (Tilted Axis Press)

Amélie Nothomb, First Blood, trans. Alison Anderson (Europa Editions)

Mónica Ojeda, Nefando, trans. Sarah Booker (Coffee House Press)

Augusto Higa Oshiro, The Enlightenment of Katzuo Nakamatsu, trans. Jennifer Shyue (Archipelago Books)

Gunnhild Øyehaug, Evil Flowers: Stories, trans. Kari Dickson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Tezer Özlü, Cold Nights of Childhood, trans. Maureen Freely (Transit Books)

Sergio Pitol, Taming the Divine Heron, trans. George Henson (Deep Vellum)

Usha Priyamvada, Won’t You Stay, Radhika?, trans. Daisy Rockwell (Speaking Tiger)

Paula Ramón, Motherland: A Memoir, trans. Julia Sanches & Jennifer Shuye (Amazon Crossing)

Brigitte Reimann, Siblings, trans. Lucy Jones (Transit Books)

Astrid Roemer, On a Woman’s Madness, trans. Lucy Scott (Two Lines Press)

Pirkko Saisio, The Red Book of Farewells, trans. Mia Spangenberg (Two Lines Press)

Dana Shem-Ur, Where I Am, trans. Yardenne Greenspan (New Vessel Press)

Kyung-Sook Shin, I Went to See My Father, trans. Anton Hur (Astra House)

Ahmed Taibaoui, The Disappearance of Mr. Nobody, trans. Jonathan Wright (Hoopoe)

Ludmila Ulitskaya, The Body of the Soul, trans. Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky (Yale University Press)

West Jerusalem Noir, ed. Maayan Eitan, trans. Yardenne Greenspan (Akashic)

Xu Zechen, Beijing Sprawl, trans. Eric Abrahamsen & Jeremy Tiang (Two Lines Press)

Guzel Yakhina, A Volga Tale, trans. Polly Gannon (Europa Editions)

Adam Zagajewski, True Life: Poems, trans. Clare Cavanagh (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Ghassan Zaqtan, An Old Carriage with Curtains, trans. Samuel Wilder (Seagull Books)

Juli Zeh, About People, trans. Alta L. Price (World Editions)

Photo by Shevaun Williams

Michelle Johnson is WLT's managing and culture editor.