Chicago, IL (December 8, 2022)—The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) is pleased to announce the longlist for its inaugural Barrios Book in Translation Prize.
Named for late NBCC board member Gregg Barrios, the new prize celebrates the artistic merit of literature in translation in any genre and seeks to recognize the valuable work of translators in expanding and enriching American literary culture by bringing world literature to English-language readers.
Among the twelve titles on the 2022 Barrios longlist, there are seven works of fiction, two works of nonfiction, two collections of poetry, and one graphic novel. The source texts for these translations come from ten different languages — Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, French, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish — and were written by authors from Central America, Central Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and Europe.
Tara Wanda Merrigan, NBCC’s Vice President for the Barrios Book in Translation Prize, noted: “Releasing the first Barrios Prize longlist is a proud moment for the National Book Critics Circle. While the NBCC has long considered books in translation for its other awards, it’s a significant step to honor works in translation specifically. The 2022 longlist celebrates twelve worthy books which Anglophone readers can access wholly thanks to the work of translators and their publisher partners.”
The Barrios longlist committee considered nearly 300 books in translation published in the United States in 2022. The committee comprised NBCC members Maria H Barrera-Agarwal, Mandana Chaffa (NBCC board member and Barrios Prize deputy), Tara Cheesman, Adam Dalva (NBCC board member, Barrios Prize deputy), Jaquira Díaz, Shelley Frisch, Heather Green, Nichole LeFebvre, Jo Livingstone (NBCC board member), Tara Wanda Merrigan (NBCC board member, VP/Barrios Prize), Cory Oldweiler, and Mira Rosenthal.
Voting for the Barrios Book in Translation Prize’s shortlist will be conducted in the month of January and voting for the prize winner in the following month. This voting process is open to NBCC voting members in good standing as of January 5, 2023. To become a member of the NBCC—which confers other membership benefits, including the opportunity to vote for the Barrios Prize and the John Leonard Prize for best debut—register via the NBCC’s website before January 5, 2023.
The winners of the Barrios Book in Translation Prize, which is awarded to both author and translator, will be announced at the NBCC Awards on Thursday, March 23rd in New York City.
Longlist, in alphabetic order:
- A Summer Day in the Company of Ghosts by Wang Yin, translated from Chinese by Andrea Lingenfelter, Poetry (New York Review Books)
- A Woman’s Battles and Transformations by Édouard Louis, translated by Tash Aw from French, Nonfiction (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- Grey Bees by Andrey Kurkov, translated by Boris Dralyuk from Russian, Fiction (Deep Vellum)
- Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Mark Polizzotti from French, Fiction (Archipelago)
- Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera, translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney, Nonfiction (Two Lines Press)
- Pachinko Parlor by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins from French, Fiction (Open Letter)
- Present Tense Machine by Gunnhild Øyehaug, translated by Kari Dickson from Norwegian, Fiction (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft from Polish, Fiction (Riverhead)
- Violets by Kyung-sook Shin, translated by Anton Hur from Korean, Fiction (Feminist Press)
- Walk Me to the Corner by Anneli Furmark, translated by Hanna Strömberg from Swedish, Graphic Novel (Drawn & Quarterly)
- When I Sing Mountains Dance, by Irene Solà, translated by Mara Faye Lethem from Catalan, Fiction (Graywolf)
- You Can Be the Last Leaf by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, translated by Fady Joudah from Arabic, Poetry (Milkweed Editions)
About the Organization
The National Book Critics Circle was founded in April 1974 in New York City and is currently made up of board members, committee groups, and members of all types from around the United States. Serving nearly 800 member critics, authors, literary bloggers, book publishing professionals, student members, and friends, the National Book Critics Circle honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature. Their community impact goes beyond memberships, reaching the reading public through their website and at free public events nationwide
About the Barrios Book in Translation Prize
The Barrios Book in Translation Prize is named after board member Gregg Barrios, a Latino poet, playwright and book critic who passed away in 2021 at age 80. A South Texas native, Vietnam War-era veteran, and longtime resident of San Antonio, Gregg joined the board of the National Book Critics Circle in 2010 with a desire to give greater representation to those in the country’s “vast heartlands” of the U.S., and to reach the Latinx community. As a board member of the NBCC, Gregg funded the Balakian Prize for book critics with a cash prize of $1000 beginning in 2012, after selling the film rights to his play Rancho Pancho. Gregg also chaired the John Leonard Prize committee and served as the organization’s first VP of Diversity and Inclusion. He firmly believed that the NBCC should have a prize for literature in translation.
For next year’s Barrios Prize, publishers will be able to submit 2023 books for consideration via web submission starting in early 2023. For more information on the prize, visit https://www.bookcritics.org/gregg-barrios-book-in-translation-prize/.