World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2022

December 5, 2022

A collage with 10 covers to titles on the 75 Notable Translations list for 2022.

It’s time to celebrate another year of translations, and there’s plenty to celebrate. Literature from underrepresented languages moved to center stage. Tomb of Sand, written by Geetanjali Shree and translated by Daisy Rockwell, became the first book originally written in an Indian language to win the International Booker Prize for Translated Fiction. Boubacar Boris Diop, whose novel Doomi Golo was the first novel to be translated from Wolof to English, won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Stephanie McCarter’s translation of Metamorphoses came out in November, the first female translation of Ovid’s epic poem in sixty years. Writing for the New Yorker, Daniel Mendelsohn noted that “McCarter confronts the tricky issues associated with both the poet and his epic not only in her forthright introduction but in the translation itself, where, like an art restorer removing decades of browned varnish from an Old Master, she strips away a number of inaccuracies and embellishments that have accreted in translations over the decades and centuries, obscuring the sense of certain passages, particularly those portraying women and sexual violence.”

The vital role of translation, too, received increased visibility in 2022. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued (it continues still), Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris brought news from Ukraine into the pages of WLT in a special Ukraine issue in July. Their work here and elsewhere reminded us all of the indispensable role translation plays in increasing international understanding in times of crisis. A few months later, Deep Vellum launched a Best Literary Translations anthology series and began receiving submissions for the inaugural volume in 2024. This new initiative aims to help redefine the canon of world literature and challenge the perception that only anglophone literature matters in the cultural conversation—a promising step as we move forward.

We’ve listed seventy-five notable translations, first published in English this year, but as always, we recognize there are many more, including translated lit for children. We hope you’ll add them in the comments on our social media channels using the hashtag #2022InTranslation, along with those you’re eagerly anticipating in 2023. Eager to read Chiang-Sheng Kuo’s The Piano Tuner, translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin? It’s out in the first week of the new year, so you won’t be waiting long. You’ll have to wait a bit longer for Dorothy Tse’s Owlish, translated by Natascha Bruce. This eerie debut novel will arrive in the summer.

Thank you for being in conversation with us this past year. We wish you good health and good reading in 2023.

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Shimon Adaf, One Mile and Two Days Before Sunset, A Detective’s Complaint, and Take Up and Read (Lost Detective Trilogy), trans. Yardenne Greenspan (Picador)

Katixa Agirre, Mothers Don’t, trans. Kristin Addis (3TimesRebel)

Isabel Allende, Violeta, trans. Frances Riddle (Ballantine Books)

Amanat: Women’s Writing from Kazakhstan, trans. & ed. Zaure Batayeva & Shelley Fairweather-Vega (Gaudy Boy)

Lena Andersson, Son of Svea: A Tale of the People’s Home, trans. Sarah Death (Other Press)

Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir, Karitas Untitled, trans. Philip Roughton (Amazon Crossing)

Reem Bassiouney, Sons of the People: The Mamluk Trilogy, trans. Roger Allen (Syracuse University Press)

Jonathan Bazzi, Fever, trans. Alice Whitmore (Scribe)

Yevgenia Belorusets, Lucky Breaks, trans. Eugene Ostashevsky (New Directions)

Jazmina Berrera, Linea Nigra, trans. Christina MacSweeney (Two Lines Press)

Daniel Birnbaum, Dr. B., trans. Deborah Bragen-Turner (Harper)

Miguel Bonnefoy, Heritage, trans. Emily Boyce (Other Press)

Emmanuel Carrère, Yoga, trans. John Lambert (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

 Mircea Cărtărescu, Solenoid, trans. Sean Cotter (Deep Vellum)

Andrea Chapela, The Visible Unseen: Essays, trans. Kelsi Vanada (Restless Books)

Krystyna Dąbrowska, Tideline, trans. Karen Kovacik, Antonia Lloyd-Jones & Mira Rosenthal (Zephyr Press)

 Simin Daneshvar, Island of Bewilderment, trans. Patricia J. Higgins & Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi (Syracuse University Press)

 Dhumketu, The Shehnai Virtuoso, trans. Jenny Bhatt (Deep Vellum)  

 Lidija Dimkovska, What Is It Like?, trans. Ljubica Arsovska, Patricia Marsh & Peggy Reid (Wrecking Ball)

Daša Drndić, Canzone di Guerra, trans. Celia Hawkesworth (Istros Books)

Olivia Elias, Chaos, Crossing, trans. Kareem James Abu-Zeid (World Poetry Books)

Annie Ernaux, Getting Lost, trans. Alison L. Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Forough Farrokhzad, Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season, trans. Elizabeth T. Gray Jr. (New Directions)

Karen Fastrup, Hunger Heart, trans. Marina Allemano (Book*hug Press)

Elena Ferrante, In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing, trans. Ann Goldstein (Europa Editions)

Anneli Furmark, Walk Me to the Corner, trans. Hanna Strömberg (Drawn & Quarterly)

Rodaan Al Galidi, The Leash and the Ball, trans. Jonathan Reeder (World Editions)

Alisa Ganieva, Offended Sensibilities, trans. Carol Apollonio (Deep Vellum)

Georgi Gospodinov, Time Shelter, trans. Angela Rodel (Liveright)

Hervé Guibert, My Manservant and Me, trans. Jeffrey Zuckerman (Nightboat Books)

Gulbahar Haitiwaji & Rozenn Morgat, How I Survived a Chinese “Reeducation” Camp, trans. Edward Gauvin (Seven Stories Press)

Eduardo Halfon, Canción, trans. Lisa Dillman & Daniel Hahn (Bellevue Literary Press)

Hadiya Hussein, Waiting for the Past, trans. Barbara Romaine (Syracuse University Press)

The Invisible Borders of Time: Five Female Latin American Poets, ed. Nidia Hernández, trans. various (Arrowsmith)

Khalid Jawed, The Paradise of Food, trans. Baran Farooqi (Juggernaut)

Ida Jessen, A Postcard for Annie, trans. Martin Aitken (Archipelago Books)

Ján Johanides, But Crime Does Punish, trans. Julia Sherwood & Peter Sherwood (Karolinum Press)

Auður Jónsdóttir, Quake, trans. Meg Matich (Dottir Press)

Boris & Liudmila Khersonsky, The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear, trans. Katie Farris & Ilya Kaminsky (Lost Horse Press)

Li Kotomi, Solo Dance, trans. Arthur Reiji Morris (World Editions)

László Krasznahorkai, A Mountain to the North, a Lake to the South, Paths to the West, a River to the East, trans. Ottilie Mulzet (New Directions)

Love in Defiance of Pain: Ukrainian Stories, ed. Ali Kinsella, Zenia Tompkins & Ross Ufberg, trans. various (Deep Vellum)

Brenda Lozano, Witches, trans. Heather Cleary (Catapult)

Maja Lunde, The Last Wild Horses, trans. Diane Oatley (HarperCollins)

Machado de Assis, The Looking-Glass, trans. Daniel Hahn (Pushkin Press)

Shahriar Mandanipour, Seasons of Purgatory, trans. Sarah Khalili (Bellevue Literary Press)

Bushra al-Maqtari, What Have You Left Behind?, trans. Sawad Hussain (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Mohamed Metwalli, A Song by the Aegean Sea, trans. Gretchen McCullough & Mohamed Metwalli (Egret Chapbooks)

Sylvia Molloy, Dislocations, trans. Jennifer Croft (Charco Press)

Scholastique Mukasonga, Kibogo, trans. Mark Polizzotti (Archipelago Books)

Angelina Muñiz-Huberman, Arrhythmias, trans. D. P. Snyder (Literal)

Patrice Nganang, A Trail of Crab Tracks, trans. Amy B. Reid (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Dorthe Nors, A Line in the World, trans. Caroline Waight (Graywolf Press)

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

Ursula Andkjær Olsen, My Jewel Box, trans. Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Action Books)

Masatsugu Ono, At the Edge of the Woods, trans. Juliet Winters Carpenter (Two Lines Press)

Hiroko Oyamada, Weasels in the Attic, trans. David Boyd (New Directions)

Abel Posse, A Long Day in Venice, trans. George Henson (Betimes Books)

Emmelie Prophète, Blue, trans. Tina Kover (Amazon Crossing)

Cristina Rivera Garza, New and Selected Stories, trans. Sarah Booker, Francisca González Arias, Lisa Dillman, Cristina Rivera Garza & Alex Ross (Dorothy Project)

Eduardo Sánchez Rugeles, The Lisbon Syndrome, trans. Paul Filev (Turtle Point Press)

Mithu Sanyal, Identitti, trans. Alta L. Price (Astra House)

Samanta Schweblin, Seven Empty Houses, trans. Megan McDowell (Riverhead Books)

Baek Sehee, I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki, trans. Anton Hur (Bloomsbury)

Kyung-sook Shin, Violets, trans. Anton Hur (Feminist Press)

Lasse Söderberg, The Forbidden Door: The Selected Poetry of Lasse Söderberg, trans. Lars Gustaf Andersson & Carolyn Forché (Arrowsmith Press)

Camila Sosa Villada, Bad Girls, trans. Kit Maude (Other Press)

Sevgi Soysal, Dawn, trans. Maureen Freely (Archipelago)

Yoko Tawada, Scattered All Over the Earth, trans. Margaret Mitsutani (New Directions)

Tempo: Excursions in 21st Century Italian Poetry, ed. Luca Paci, trans. various (Parthian)

Wojciech Tochman, Roosters Crow, Dogs Cry, trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Open Letter)

 Olga Tokarczuk, The Books of Jacob, trans. Jennifer Croft (Riverhead Books / Fitzcarraldo Editions) 

The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories: Volume 2, ed. James D. Jenkins & Ryan Cagle, trans. various (Valancourt)

Xue Yiwei, Celia, Misoka, I, trans. Stephen Nashef (Rare Machines)

Zhang Yueran, Cocoon, trans. Jeremy Tiang (World Editions)

University of Oklahoma

Photo by Shevaun Williams

Michelle Johnson is WLT's managing and culture editor.