The NTA Countdown to ALTA44: Beowulf

The NTA Countdown to ALTA44: Beowulf

Join us as we count down to the ALTA44: Inflection Points awards ceremony with the National Translation Award in Poetry and Prose longlisted titles! We will be featuring the titles in alphabetical order alongside blurbs penned by our judges for the National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose. This year’s prose judges are Jennifer Croft, Anton Hur, and Annie Janusch. This year’s judges for poetry are Sinan Antoon, Layla Benitez-James, and Sibelan Forrester.

The winning translators will receive a $2,500 cash prize each. The awards will be announced at ALTA’s annual conference, ALTA44: Inflection Points, which this year is being held jointly online and in-person in Tucson, AZ. The virtual awards ceremony will be aired on Saturday, October 16, at 5:00pm PT. To attend, register via the virtual conference platform (there is also a free ticket option that includes public events like this one.)

Join us as we shine the spotlight today on this NTA longlisted title, along with a citation penned by the judges:

By an unknown author
Translated from Old English by Maria Dahvana Headley
(MCD x FSG Originals)

How many translations are there of Beowulf, and do we need another? It takes only a few lines to discover that yes, we do need Maria Dahvana Headley’s lively new version of the Old English classic. With sinuous, vivid language and inventive phrasing (with occasional striking anachronisms, like the opening and then recurring word “Bro!” that is sure to provoke a reaction), she delivers the epic as a ripping yarn and foregrounds its psychological and political import. Of course, we are up for epic poetry when it is this relevant and this entertaining!