I love reading internationally, so finding good translated books is a fun challenge.
I’m always eager to visit local bookshops (like those in Tanzania and Zambia) whenever I travel. They often offer local and national authors I can’t find in the United States. But when you can’t travel, there are still ways to discover excellent books in in translation.
I don’t say this enough–visit your local library! Librarians have a wealth of knowledge that they’re happy to share.
Check out events, like the PEN World Voices Festival. Even if you’re not able to attend, it’s still an excellent source for finding new titles.
If you search for “translated book awards,” there are a ton of large and small awards that may cater to your specialty or taste. PEN offers several awards, including the PEN Translation Prize, and there’s also the Best Translated Book Award through Open Letter Books.
Pro tip: Use these awards to discover publishers that regularly put forth excellent translated books.
There’s Open Letter Books, based at the University of Rochester; their literary magazine, Three Percent, hosts the Best Translated Book Award mentioned above. But Open Letter itself publishes ten translated books a year.
Other regular shortlisters include Soft Skull, FSG, Archipelago Books, Melville House, New Directions, Graywolf Press, New York Review of Books, and several others.
Tell me: What’s your favorite book in translation? How do you find translated books?
Categories: On Writing