1. Krzhizhanovsky’s Autobiography of a Corpse Wins the 2014 PEN Translation Prize


    NYRB Classics is pleased to announce that Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov, has won the 2014 PEN Translation Prize.

    Each year, the PEN Translation Prize is awarded for a book-length translation of prose into English. This year’s Translation Prize judges were Ann Goldstein, Becka McKay, and Katherine Silver. Here is an excerpt from the judges’ citation:

    Fantastical, hallucinatory, and wildly imaginative, the book is rich in linguistic playfulness—part metafiction, part exploration into the farthest reaches and minutest details of reality…Joanne Turnbull, in collaboration with Nikolai Formozov, has produced a compellingly readable translation that is also inventive, that improvises when necessary and consistently insinuates a strangeness and beauty of other worlds, both literary and real…With her notes and her translation, [Turnbull] effectively offers us Krzhizanovsky’s genius—unrecognized and suppressed during his lifetime—rather than drawing attention to herself and her own considerable resourcefulness and artistry. This is a rare and welcome conjunction of a literary text that allows the art of translation to shine and a translator who has brilliantly met the challenge.

    To read the rest of the judges’ citation, visit the PEN website.

  2. Three NYRB Classics Shortlisted for the PEN Translation Prize


    This episode did not put an end to my pursuit of city solitudes, though I did promise myself and them one thing: never entrust these stolen essences to a pencil.

    —Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, “Seams” from Autobiography of a Corpse, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov


    There was only one human soul, the soul that did not lose faith as it suffered anguish and torment among the scree and vineyards of Palestine, the soul that remains equally human and good in a little village near Penza, under the sky of India, and in a northern yurt—because there is good in people everywhere, simply because they are human beings.

    —Vasily Grossman, An Armenian Sketchbook, translated from the Russian by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler


    I was already reckoning in consulate time, a kind of planetary time in which you equate earthly days with millions of years because worlds can burn in the time it takes a transit visa to expire.

    —Anna Seghers, Transit, translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo


    Please join us in congratulating the translators of Autobiography of a Corpse, An Armenian Sketchbook, and Transit on advancing to the short list of the 2014 PEN Translation Prize. Winners will be announced later in the summer. To read more about the 2014 PEN Literary Awards click here.

  3. Translation Domination (PEN Literary Awards)

    The longlist for the  2014 PEN Literary Awards was announced yesterday and there are THREE (!!!) books from NYRB Classics on the Translation Prize longlist. Congratulations to everyone nominated and MANY thanks to our excellent translators for making this a banner year for us (even if we don’t take home the prize). Here are all ten books on the list:

    Shantytown by César Aira (New Directions), Chris Andrews
    Twists and Turns in the Heart’s Antarctic by Hélène Cixous (Polity), Beverley Bie Brahic
    An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman (New York Review Books), Elizabeth & Robert Chandler
    The Infatuations by Javier Marías (Knopf), Margaret Jull Costa
    Transit by Anna Seghers (New York Review Books), Margot Bettauer Dembo
    Kafka: The Years of Insight by Reiner Stach (Princeton University Press), Shelley Frisch
    The Dinner by Herman Koch (Hogarth), Sam Garrett
    The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa (Yale University Press), Jeffrey Gray
    The Emperor’s Tomb by Joseph Roth (New Directions), Michael Hofmann
    Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (New York Review Books), Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov

    A wave across the office to Martin Filler, whose Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume II was longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and is published by New York Review Books.

    And another one across town to Other Press and David Margolick. Margolick’s biography of John Horne Burns, Dreadful, is on the list for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography.

  4. Best Translated Book Award for Fiction Longlist Announced


    Many congratulations to Joanne Turnbull, whose translation of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s  Autobiography of a Corpse made Three Percent’s Best Translated Book Award Fiction Longlist.

    Congratulations also to four other nominated translators that NYRB has had the honor of publishing in the past:

    Damion Searls, for his translations of Elfriede Jelinek’s Her Not All Her and Christa Wolf’s City of Angels, Or the Overcoat of Dr. Freud

    Edith Grossman, for her translation of Antonio Muñoz Molina’s In the Night of Time

    Anna Moschovakis for her co-translation of Marcelle Sauvageot’s Commentary

    Margaret Jull Costa* for her translation of Javier Marías’ The Infatuations

    *Margaret Jull Costa will be translating the NYRB Classics edition of Benito Pérez Galdós’ novel, Tristana, on sale October 2014.

  5. 'The Letter Killers Club' in Bookforum

    Certain writers are too weird to fully belong to their own time. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky—a Soviet writer obsessed with Kant and Shakespeare, whose own life barely rippled beyond a small coterie of Muscovite writers before his death in 1950—is among them. Krzhizhanovsky wrote philosophical works of fiction that veer between chattiness and, in the fine translations of Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov, unexpected elegance. They are tales of bodies suspended between life and death, of an animated Eiffel Tower that rampages across Europe, and of towns where dreams are made literal. To read these stories is to be buttonholed by a slightly mad but unfailingly interesting stranger desperate for a sympathetic ear. In Krzhizhanovsky, we find the aphorisms of a dime store philosopher and the polyphony of a schizophrenic.

          -  from a review of The Letter Killers Club, the recently published Krzhizhanovsky novel translated by Joanne Turnbull, in Bookforum. The collection of his short stories, Memories of the Future, is also mentioned in Jacob Silverman’s review.