The Confessions of Noa Weber (Melville House) wins Translated Book Award
[Here’s another one for the “I know it’s a press release but I think you’ll actually be interested” files. Congrats to Melville House, the author, the translator, and everyone else to whom congrats are due; and a hearty cheers to Liran Golod, tireless arts champion at the Israeli Consulate, provider of this notice. – JT]
New York, March 11, 2010 – Melville House’s The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu, has won the 2010 Best Translated Book Award for Fiction. Organized by Three Percent at the University of Rochester, the Best Translated Book Award is the only prize of its kind to honor the best original works of international literature and poetry published in the U.S. over the past year. This year the awards ceremony was hosted by Manhattan independent bookstore Idlewild Books.
“We’re delighted to receive this award on behalf of the author, Gail Hareven,” said co-publisher Dennis Loy Johnson, “as it represents what we see as part of our mission at Melville House: Not just to publish both fiction and nonfiction in translation for the sake of essentially preserving it, as if it were something on the verge of going extinct. That strikes us as a way of further ensuring its obscurity. Rather, we see it as our mission to trumpet that work loudly, and to work aggressively to get that work in the hands of as many people as possible, especially those who would not normally encounter translated literature.”
The Confessions of Noa Weber is the story of a woman who leads a successful “feminist” life: she has a strong career, a wonderful daughter she raised alone, and she is a recognized and respected author. Yet her interior life is bound by her obsessive love for one man–Alek, a Russian émigré and the father of her child, who has drifted in and out of her life. Trying to understand-as well as free herself from-this lifelong obsession, Noa turns her pen on herself, and with relentless honesty dissects her life. Against the evocative setting of turbulent, modernday Israel, this examination becomes a quest to transform irrational desire into a greater, transcendent understanding of love.
The fiction judges this year were Monica Carter (Skylight Books and Salonica), Scott Esposito (Conversational Reading and Center for the Art of Translation), Susan Harris (Words Without Borders), translator Annie Janusch, Brandon Kennedy (Spoonbill & Sugartown bookstore), Bill Marx (PRI’s The World: World Books), Michael Orthofer (Complete Review), Chad W. Post (Open Letter and Three Percent) and Jeff Waxman (Seminary Co-Op and The Front Table).