Local writer Yuri Herrera was recently announced as a winner of this year’s Best Translated Book Awards for his novel Signs Preceding the End of the World, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman. The poetry winner was Angélica Freitas’s Rilke Shake, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan.
This is the ninth iteration of the Best Translated Book Award (BTBA) and the fifth in which the four winning authors and translators will receive $5,000 cash prizes thanks to funding from the Amazon Literary Partnership program.
Yuri Herrera is the first Spanish-language writer to win the award for fiction. According to “Why This Book Should Win” piece by bookseller (and former BTBA judge) Stephen Sparks, “Signs Preceding the End of the World tells the story of a young switchboard operator’s harrowing attempt to cross a border between worlds — Mexico and the United States, but also between reality and myth, between the living and the dead, between any here and distant there — in search of her brother, who like uncountable others before him has gone north to seek out a better life.”
Lisa Dillman has translated almost a dozen books over the past few years, including works by Andrés Barba and Eduardo Halfon, and teaches Spanish at Emory College. Her translation of Herrera’s next novel, The Transmigration of Bodies (also published by And Other Stories), comes out in July.