An Alternate Africa

Over at Three Percent Chad W. Post is continuing his trip through the long list of the mainstream translation award. The latest book to come under the microscope is In the United States of Africa by Abdourahman Waberi. The book is set in alternate present in which, as Post explains, we are asked to imagine:

what would it be like if Africa were America and the United States and Europe were third world countries where the whiteness of your skin was a disadvantage, a mark of poverty and prejudice

The author is from Djibouti and wrote originally in French. The translation is by David and Nicole Ball.

The Swedes Are Coming!

And they are bringing their comics with them. Top Shelf Productions have recently announced that they will be publishing several top Swedish comics in English translation in the USA this year. Probably not all of them will be speculative fiction, but there’s not much doubt about The Troll King by Kolbeinn Karlsson. The Top Shelf web site has more details.

The Big One

While the mainstream award run through Three Percent is the primary mainstream we will be tracking, there is another mainstream prize for translation. It is only awarded every three years, but it is worth a whopping $10,000. The Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Translation Prize is intended to foster awareness and appreciation of Spanish literature in the USA. The first ever winner is Edith Grossman, for her translation of Antonio Munoz Molinas novel, A Manuscript of Ashes. Galley Cat has more details.

One From Argentina

Over at Three Percent Chad Post is talking about Ghosts, a novel by Argentine author, César Aira. As the book has ghosts in it, it is definitely with our terms of reference. Of course it is a 2009 book, so our jury will only look at it if they think they don’t have a sufficient number of 2010 books to consider, but if it is a candidate for a mainstream translation award it must be quite impressive.

Eaton Conference 2011 – Call for Papers

Our current plan is that the inaugural translation awards will be presented at the 2011 Eaton Conference. We now have some preliminary information about that to share with you.

This three-day conference — sponsored by the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature at the University of California, Riverside — proposes to examine the ways in which science fiction (SF) is a truly global phenomenon, crossing territorial, linguistic, and ideological boundaries in its imaginative engagement with the possibilities of the future. We are interested in papers that explore historical and contemporary SF in relation to processes of globalization, international social movements, universalist ideologies, multinational cultures, technoscientific networks, philosophies of cosmopolitanism, neo- and postcolonial politics, separatist and sovereignty movements, and more. We invite paper and panel proposals that focus on all forms of SF, including prose fiction, film, television, comics, and digital culture, and that address (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • How is SF, as a form of multimedia production and a mode of visionary speculation, linked to the structures and world-views of an emerging global marketplace of ideas, commodities, and lifestyles?
  • How have SF cultures around the world evolved and adapted in relation to the processes of globalization, internationalization, and multinationality?
  • How do the legacies of colonialism and imperialism continue to inform global SF, and how have various local SF cultures negotiated their relationship with an Anglophone hegemony?
  • How have the relative paucity or poor quality of English-language translations served to obscure the fact that SF, thoughout its history, has always been a global phenomenon?
  • What has been the impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of new forms of sociopolitical collectivity such as the European Union on the development of local SF cultures?
  • How has “hard SF” responded to a globalized world of corporate technoscience, multinational research ventures, and international scientific accords?
  • Has the growth of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and other information networks served to further “globalize” SF as a mode of production and a subcultural formation?
  • In what ways does SF foster outlooks that promote or critique the processes of globalization?

The keynote speaker will be Mike Davis, UCR Professor of Creative Writing and author of City of Quartz, The Ecology of Fear, Planet of Slums, and many other works exploring the linkages among social history, political economy, popular culture, and the processes of globalization. SF author guests will be announced as they are confirmed; see the conference website for periodic updates.

The conference will be held in the historic Mission Inn Hotel in downtown Riverside on February 11-13, 2011.

Abstracts of 500 words (for papers of 20-minutes in length) should be submitted by June 15, 2010 to Melissa Conway, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Rivera Library, UC-Riverside. Electronic submission is preferred via email to melissa.conway [at]