Women in Translation Month: Books Translated by Women That Have Won the PEN Translation Prize
This year, as a contribution to Women in Translation Month, created by Meytal Radzinski in 2014, the PEN America Translation Committee conceived a series of blog posts featuring books written by women that have won the PEN Translation Prize and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, as well as books by female authors that were published after having received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant.
In the final two posts of the series, we expand the concept to feature the books translated by women that have won the PEN Translation Prize and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Both awards were established in order to honor the art of the literary translator and are accompanied by a $3,000 prize.
The fact that PEN America’s translation prizes have gone disproportionately to books written or translated by men over the years illustrates the problem that Radzinski identified in December 2013, when she first noticed, and documented, as she later put it, “this startling skew.”
Click here for an account of how Women in Translation Month came into being, and a look at some of the efforts aimed at getting more female authors translated into English and more people reading them. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the conversation at #womenintranslation and #WITMonth. Also, please visit Women in Translation (WiT), a Tumblr I cofounded with Alta L. Price, which draws its inspiration from VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and investigates gender disparities within the world of literary translation.
In its 56 years of existence, the PEN Translation Prize has been awarded to a total of 67 translators (translator-collaborators are eligible and have won on several occasions). Of the 67 winners, only 19 have been women. Things are changing, however: In the past decade, women translators have received the honor six times.
The following is a list of the award-winning women, along with the title of the work they translated and its author. We hope you’ll be inspired to pick some of them up and read them this month—and keep on reading women in translation (writers and translators) in all the months to come!
1985: Helen R. Lane, for her translation from the Spanish of The War at the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa Amazon
1979: Adrienne Foulke, for her translation from the Italian of One Way or Another by Leonardo Sciascia Amazon
1967: Harriet de Onis, for her translation from the Portuguese of Sagarana by João Guimarães Rosa