October 6, 2022—The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 National Translation Award (NTA) in Prose! 2022 marks the twenty-fourth year for the NTA, and the eighth year to award separate prizes in poetry and prose. The NTA, which is administered by ALTA, is the only national award for translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction that includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work. This year’s judges for prose are Suzanne Jill Levine, Arunava Sinha, and Annie Tucker.
This year’s winner was awarded at the Awards Ceremony held during ALTA’s 45th annual programming, ALTA45: Value(s). The ceremony included a focus on the 2022 shortlist, and the winner was featured in conversation with judge Arunava Sinha, followed by a short reading by the translator from the winning text. The announcement was made on October 6, 2022 on ALTA’s Eventbrite page; a recording of the ceremony will be viewable there. The winner will be awarded a $2,500 prize.
Winner: 2022 National Translation Award in Prose
The Morning Star
By Karl Ove Knausgaard
Translated from Norwegian by Martin Aitken
This is what the judges had to say about the winner:
Knausgaard’s newest novel layers slow-burning suspense over his signature description and introspection. A cast of rotating narrators is muddling through—addiction, failed marriages, fumbling parenthood—when a huge, hot star appears in the sky. Their confrontations with this and other portents of death and rupture reference the looming dreads of our time. Still, fluidly rendered by a master translator of Scandinavian literature, the language cherishes the sensuous vitality still present even in the most ambivalent and imperfect lives: “[T]he blood streaming, the heart beating, and the emotions too, likewise of such simple beauty […] moving more like shadows on the ground when the sun passed behind a cloud, suddenly to re-emerge, flooding everything first in one way, which was joy, then in another, which was sadness.”
About the winner
Martin Aitken is from the north of England. He studied creative arts in Newcastle before settling in Denmark, where he gained a PhD in Linguistics. Since giving up university tenure in 2008 to translate Scandinavian literature, he has translated some 40 books, mostly from Danish, increasingly from Norwegian. His work has also appeared in many literary journals and magazines. His translations have been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, the International DUBLIN Literary Award, and a U.S. National Book Award. In 2019 he received the PEN America Translation Prize.
[Image Description: Martin, an older man with blue eyes and silver hair is pictured against a grey background while looking straight at the camera. He is wearing a black T-shirt and smiling almost imperceptibly with his left eyebrow raised.]
The 2023 National Translation Award in Prose submissions portal will be opened in January 2023.