Israeli novel wins Best Translated Book Award

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The Independent Culture

Gail Hareven's The Confessions of Noa Weber, translated from Hebrew into English by Dalya Bilu, was given the 2010 Best Translated Book Award on March 10. Organized by international liteturature resource Three Percent at the University of Rochester, the Best Translated Book Award honors the best original works of international literature and poetry published in English in the US over the past year.

"There were four or five titles that we all would've been happy to see win," said Chad W. Post, panelist and director of Three Percent and Open Letter Books. "This just goes to show how many high-quality works are coming out in English translation."

The Confessions of Noa Weber tells the story of a middle-aged writer who married a man out of convenience (to escape her military duty) and continues to love him throughout her life, despite the fact that he leaves her for Russia, another woman, and a different life. Gail Hareven is the author of six novels and three short stories collections; Noa Weber is her first title to be published in English.

Also awarded was a poetry prize, given to Elena Fanailova's The Russian Version, translated from Russian by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler. Elena Fanailova is the author of four other poetry collections, which, according to Three Percent, have earned her a reputation as one of Russia's most important contemporary voices.

The Best Translated Book Award was created in 2007 to draw attention to translated titles, which otherwise rarely had a place on "best-of" book lists. In order to be considered for the 2010 prize, books must have been published in the United States in English translation between December 1, 2008 and November 30, 2009. Books are evaluated not only for the caliber of their translations, but for the work as a whole.

Both the fiction and poetry were presented on March 10 at a ceremony at Idlewild Books in New York City.