Gregory Rabassa for his memoir If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents (New Directions)

The PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir is given to an American author for his or her first published memoir, distinguished by qualities of literary and stylistic excellence. The prize is the second award made possible by a bequest from the late PEN member and mystery writer Martha Albrand, who wished to call attention to first works in various genres, and complements the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction.

2006 Judges

Annabel Davis Goff, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Dani Shapiro

From the Judges’ Citation

“Gregory Rabassa’s memoir is a beautifully idiosyncratic collage of recollections about the author’s great career as translator of such writers as Julio Cortázar, José Lezama Lima, and Gabriel García Márquez. Rabassa’s own voice, stripped of the masks of the writers he has so memorably impersonated, shines through with a baroque jumpiness and suppleness of its own. Table talk of the highest order, this book is an opinionated and informative survey of Latin American literature as well as a warmly digressive account of a life immersed in letters; as a biographia literaria, it demonstrates that ‘real life’ takes place inside literature, not merely outside of it.”