World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2016

December 13, 2016

75 Notable Translations of 2016

In our fifth annual list of “75 Notable Translations,” we again offer an admittedly incomplete collection of the year’s English translations. And again, we invite you to share your favorites from the year as well as those you’re most eagerly anticipating in 2017 by using the hashtag #2017Reads on Twitter and Facebook.

Two notable firsts: Boubacar Boris Diop’s Doomi Golo: The Hidden Notebooks became the first novel translated from Wolof to English and Phoneme Media published the first English translation of a Burundian novel, Rugero Roland’s Baho!, translated by Chris Schaefer. And a new nonprofit, independent press that will include translated literature among its publications entered the scene. Transit Books will release four titles in 2017.

The conversation about women in translation continued. In September, Alison Anderson and David Shook participated in an interview on WLT’s Translation Tuesday blog series, discussing with Melissa Weiss the status of women authors in translation. In November, WLT published an issue devoted exclusively to women writers, cover to cover, including pieces in translation from Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Macedonian, Norwegian, and Spanish. So if you’re looking for great translations by women writers, perhaps to join Biblio’s #Women in Translation Month, WLT’s November issue and the list below are two great starting points.

We look forward to continuing to serve as your passport to great global reading in 2017.

Gabriela Adameșteanu, The Encounter, trans. Alistair Ian Blyth (Dalkey Archive Press)

Marjorie Agosín, Harbors of Light, trans. E. M. O’Connor (White Pine Press) 

Svetlana Alexievich, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, trans. Bela Shayevich (Random House) 

Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, A Monkey at the Window, trans. Sarah Maguire & Mark Ford (Bloodaxe Books)

Yusuf Atılgan, Motherland Hotel, trans. Fred Stark (City Lights)

Bae Suah, A Greater Music, trans. Deborah Smith (Open Letter)

Basma Abdel Aziz, The Queue, trans. Elisabeth Jaquette (Melville House)

Wolfgang Bauer, Crossing the Sea: With Syrians on the Exodus to Europe, trans. Sarah Pybus (And Other Stories) 

Hassan Blasim, ed., Iraq + 100: Stories from a Century after the Invasion (Comma Press) 

The Book of Dhaka, ed. Arunava Sinha & Pushpita Alam (Comma Press)

The Book of Khartoum, ed. Raph Cormack & Max Shmookler (Comma Press)

Alina Bronsky, Baba Dunja’s Last Love, trans. Tim Mohr (Europa Editions) 

Serge Brussolo, The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome, trans. Edward Gauvin (Melville House)

Paulina Chiziane, The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy, trans. David Brookshaw (Archipelago Books) 

Virginie Despentes, Bye Bye Blondie, trans. Siân Reynolds (The Feminist Press)

Ananda Devi, Eve Out of Her Ruins, trans. Jeffrey Zuckerman (Deep Vellum) 

Lidija Dimkovska, A Spare Life, trans. Christina E. Kramer (Two Lines Press)

Boubacar Boris Diop, Doomi Golo: The Hidden Notebooks, trans. Vera Wülfing-Leckie & El Hadji Moustapha Diop (Michigan State UP)

Oddný Eir, Land of Love and Ruins, trans. Philip Roughton (Restless Books)

Álvaro Enrigue, Sudden Death, trans. Natasha Wimmer (Riverhead Books) 

Laia Fàbregas, Landing, trans. Samantha Schnee (Hispabooks) 

Elena Ferrante, Frantumaglia, trans. Ann Goldstein (Europa Editions)

Zsuzsanna Gahse, Volatile Texts: Us Two, trans. Chenxin Jiang (Dalkey Archive Press)

Nicola Gardini, Lost Words, trans. Michael F. Moore (New Directions) 

Fariba Hachtroudi, The Man Who Snapped His Fingers, trans. Alison Anderson (Europa Editions) 

Miguel Ángel Hernández, Escape Attempt, trans. Rhett McNeil (Hispabooks) 

Yuri Herrera, The Transmigration of Bodies, trans. Lisa Dillman (And Other Stories)

Hwang Jungeun,One Hundred Shadows, trans. Jung Yewon (Tilted Axis Press) 

Christos Ikonomou, Something Will Happen, You’ll See, trans. Karen Emmerich (Archipelago Books) 

Rita Indiana, Papi, trans. Achy Obejas (Chicago UP) 

Rabee Jaber, Confessions, trans. Kareem James Abu-Zeid (New Directions)

Jia Pingwa, Ruined City, trans. Howard Goldblatt (University of Oklahoma Press) 

Laia Jufresa, Umami, trans. Sophie Hughes (OneWorld) 

Jung Young-moon, A Contrived World, trans. Jeffrey Karvonen & Mah Eunji (Dalkey Archive Press) 

Maylis de Kerangal, Mend the Living, trans. Jessica Moore (MacLehose)

Josefine Klougart, One of Us Is Sleeping, trans. Martin Aitken (Open Letter)

Karen Kovacik, ed., Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets (White Pine Press) 

László Krasznahorkai, The Last Wolf & Herman, trans. George Szirtes & John Batki (New Directions) 

Fouad Laroui, The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers, trans. Emma Ramadan (Deep Vellum) 

Francesca Melandri, Eva Sleeps, trans. Katherine Gregor (Europa Editions) 

Lina Meruane, Seeing Red, trans. Megan McDowell (Deep Vellum) 

Tedi López Mills, Against the Current, trans. Wendy Burk (Phoneme Media) 

Iben Mondrup, Justine, trans. Kerri A. Pierce (Open Letter)

Scholastique Mukasonga, Cockroaches, trans. Jordan Stump (Archipelago Books) 

Fuminori Nakamura, The Gun, trans. Allison Markin Powell (Soho Press)

João Gilberto Noll, Quiet Creature on the Corner, trans. Adam Morris (Two Lines Press)

Dorthe Nors, So Much for That Winter: Novellas, trans. Misha Hoekstra (Graywolf Press) 

Eunice Odio, Territory of Dawn: Selected Poems, trans. Keith Ekiss with Sonia P. Ticas & Mauricio Espinoza (Bitter Oleander Press)  

Only the Road / Solo el Camino, ed. & trans. Margaret Randall (Duke UP) 

Alejandra Pizarnik, Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962–1972, trans. Yvette Siegert (New Directions)

Magdaléna Platzová, The Attempt, trans. Alex Zucker (Bellevue Literary Press) 

Alexandre Vidal Porto, Sergio Y., trans. Alex Ladd, tr. (Europa Editions) 

Rilke: New Poems, trans. Joseph Cadora (Copper Canyon)

Agustín de Rojas, The Year 200, trans. Nick Caistor & Hebe Powell (Restless Books)

Roland Rugero, Baho!, trans. Chris Schaefer (Phoneme Media)

Tuvia Ruebner Late Beauty, trans. Lisa Katz & Shahar Bram (Zephyr Press) 

Rumi, Love Is My Savior, trans. Nesreen Akhtarkhavari & Anthony A. Lee (Michigan State UP) 

Jean Sénac, Citizens of Beauty, trans. Jack Hirschman (Michigan State UP) 

Youval Shimoni, A Room, trans. Michael Sharp (Dalkey Archive Press)

Knuts Skujenieks, Seed in Snow, trans. Bitite Vinklers (BOA Editions, Ltd.)

Alawiya Sobh, Maryam: Keeper of Stories, trans. Nirvana Tanoukhi (Seagull Books) 

Philippe Soupault, Lost Profiles: Memoirs of Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism, trans. Alan Bernheimer, (City Lights) 

Yoko Tawada, Memoirs of a Polar Bear, trans. Susan Bernofsky (New Directions) 

Teffi, Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea, trans. Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Anne Marie Jackson & Irina Steinberg (NYRB) 

Bei Tong, Beijing Comrades, trans. Scott E. Myers (Feminist Press)

Suzana Tratnik, Games with Greta and Other Stories, trans. Michael Biggins (Dalkey Archive Press) 

Marcelino Truong Such a Lovely Little War, trans. David Homel (Arsenal Pulp Press) 

Oidov Tseveendorjin, The End of the Dark Era, trans. Simon Wickhamsmith (Phoneme Media) 

Maria Turtschaninoff, Maresi: The Red Abbey Chronicles, trans. Annie Prime (Pushkin Children’s Books) 

Ludmila Ulitskaya, The Kukotsky Enigma, trans. Diane Nemec Ignashev (Northwestern UP) 

Enrique Vila-Matas, Vampire in Love, trans. Margaret Jull Costa (New Directions) 

Zareh Vorpouni, The Candidate, trans. Jennifer Manoukian & Ishkhan Jinbashian (Syracuse UP) 

Xi Xi, Not Written Words, trans. Jennifer Feeley (Zephyr Press) 

Muhammad Zafzaf, The Elusive Fox, trans. Mbarek Sryfi & Roger Allen (Syracuse UP)

Jovanka Živanović, Fragile Travelers, trans. Jovanka Kalaba (Dalkey Archive Press)

Michelle Johnson is WLT's managing and culture editor.