And The Winners Are…

The results of the 2011 Awards have been presented at the 2011 Eurocon in Stockholm. Guests of Honor, Ian McDonald and Elizabeth Bear opened the envelopes. In each category the jury has selected an houorable mention as well as a winner. The results are:

Long Form Honorable Mention

The Golden Age, Michal Ajvaz, translated by Andrew Oakland (Dalkey Archive Press). Original publication in Czech as Zlatý Věk (2001).

Long Form Winner

A Life on Paper: Stories, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, translated by Edward Gauvin (Small Beer Press). Original publication in French (1976­-2005).

Short Form Honorable Mention

“Wagtail”, Marketta Niemelä, translated by Liisa Rantalaiho (Usva International 2010, ed. Anne Leinonen). Original publication in Finnish as “Västäräkki” (Usva (The Mist), 2008).

Short Form Winner

“Elegy for a Young Elk”, Hannu Rajaniemi, translated by Hannu Rajaniemi (Subterranean Online, Spring 2010). Original publication in Finnish (Portti, 2007).

Special Award

In addition to the standard awards, the Board of ARESFFT presented a special award to British author and translator Brian Stableford in recognition of the excellence of his translation work.

Each winning author and translator will receives a cash prize of US$350 (As both author and translator Mr. Rajaniemi gets $700).

Mr. Gauvin and M. Châteaureynaud were unable to be in Stockholm, but both sent words of thanks:

Edward Gauvin: “My deepest thanks to all the readers and editors who believed in these stories along the way, especially the folks at Small Beer. To Susan Harris and Paul and Sylviane Underwood. To Georges-Olivier, for writing them, and for his encouragement and support. And to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards, who have honored us with this inaugural edition of a prize with a terrific future ahead of it.”

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud: “Many thanks to my mother, to Small Beer Press, and to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards. Sometimes, it is as much in an insightful review as in a translation — in this case, in a language I’ve a few glimmers of, having studied English at the Sorbonne — that one has the feeling of having been understood. I feel I’ve found a kindred spirit in Edward Gauvin, miraculously capable of comprehending and conveying what I’ve tried to express in these tales.”

Hannu Rajaniemi was present to accept the award. We will get some words from him soon, but he’s being interviewed by Charles Stross on stage right now.

The jury have sent some comments about the chosen works.

Long Form Winner

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, A Life on Paper: Stories, translated by Edward Gauvin

The stories in this collection — the first-ever English translations of Châteaureynaud’s work — are written with such delicacy and economy of prose that the reader may be unprepared for the marvelous — and often disquieting — irruptions of unreality that break into experiences of the narrators and characters. This is unapologetically fantastic fiction, but so subtly-crafted that even outrageous violations of reason — a man sprouts tiny wings, a siren swims ashore, a guillotined head complains of its decomposition, a mummy in a double-bass case sings beautifully in Breton — seem manifestly verisimilar; it all just fits together with cunning perfection. Edward Gauvin’s translations are models of the discipline, masterfully attuned to Châteaureynaud’s stylstic shifts, scrupulous ambiguity, and dark humor.

Long Form Honorable Mention

Michal Ajvaz, The Golden Age, translated by Andrew Oakland

A brilliant, ambitious work of utopian fiction and an extraordinary shaggy dog story, complexly and confidently told. The peculiar architecture of the unnamed island, the islanders’s strange language-games and mutable writing system, knowing manipulations of would-be colonizers, and the method of the island’s sole, parodically hypertextual, historical novel — called simply the Book — are realized on so many registrers and with such care that Ajvaz’s novel seems as much a shorthand encyclopedia of modern thought on language, mind, and fiction-making, as an entertaining, Swiftian travelogue. Andrew Oakland’s translation deftly crosses all of these fictional and nonfictional orders without a misstep, capturing the novelist’s wry humor and philosophical rigor.

Short form Winner

Hannu Rajaniemi, “Elegy for a Young Elk”, translated by Hannu Rajaniemi

A brilliant crossing of multiple sf and fantasy genres, marked by canny humor, melancholy, and a looming sense of menace, and shot through with beautiful and memorable images and exchanges. Rajaniemi’s evocative prose hints at a richly-conceived backstory of a technological apotheosis that has refashioned real and virtual worlds — many of the details of which are only hinted at but never seem underimagined. A rare work of short fiction that grows more complex on successive readings.

Short form Honorable Mention

Marketta Niemelä, “Wagtail”, translated by Liisa Rantalaiho

An intensely-told, unsettling parable of the family in an age of hyperreality and affective alienation. Rantalaiho’s precise translation of Niemelä’s spare, detached prose admirably captures the narrator’s anxiety and imperfect understanding of the bonds that join her to the daughters — and kinds of motherhood — between which she must choose.

Special Award — Brian Stableford

Brian Stablefords contributions to science fiction and fantasy in the roles of author, editor, and historian-scholar may well be unequalled; certainly, no other living writer has matched the variety and scope of his prodigious output of original fiction and scholarship. For the last decade, Stableford has devoted much of his considerable talents and energy to an unprecedented project of literary resurrection, translating more than sixty books of proto and classic sf, horror, and fantasy by French authors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most of the authors and titles are unknown to English-speaking readers; only a handful had been previously translated; many of these texts are now almost impossible to find in the original French. Yet they include among them more than a few of the most historically significant and influential works of modern imaginative fiction in that language. They are invaluable to our understanding of the sources and development of world science fiction and fantasy.

Despite their sheer, daunting number fully seventeen of the texts nominated for this years long form Award were translated by Stableford his translations are complete and faithful. His critical introductions and annotations are models of discernment, and invaluable to the scholar and enthusiast alike. The intellectual sweep and literary success of this translation project are, in a word, astonishing; there is nothing comparable to it in the history of sf and fantasy translation, and it stands as a benchmark for the labor that these Awards aim to honor. Thus it is appropriate that with this Special Award in recognition of the excellence of his translation work, we congratulate and celebrate Brian Stableford’s ongoing service in support of world science fiction and fantasy.

The jury for the awards was Terry Harpold, University of Florida, USA (Chair); Abhijit Gupta, Jadavpur University, India; and Dale Knickerbocker, East Carolina University, USA.

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