New Dutch Books in English
Issue No. 15: Autumn 2020
The big news about Dutch literature in English this year has been the unprecedented achievement of author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and translator Michele Hutchison in winning the Booker International for The Discomfort of Evening. This is a tremendous achievement and one of the greatest Dutch literary successes in English so far. It is also the culmination of a remarkable run of critical and commercial success over the last ten to fifteen years.
The Booker International in its current form is the most prestigious prize for translated novels in English and was created by merging the Man Booker International Prize for a body of work and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for best translated novel. In its current form the Booker International has only existed for five years, but in this brief period Tommy Wieringa’s The Death of Murat Idrissi (tr. Sam Garrett) and Stefan Hertmans’s War and Turpentine (tr. David McKay) have also been nominated. Dutch books also featured in the history of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, which gave its format to the current Booker, with no less than two Dutch-language winners: Omega Minor (Paul Verhaeghen, self-translated, 2008) and The Detour (Gerbrand Bakker, tr. David Colmer, 2013).
Another major prize that has seen a lot of Dutch success is the Dublin Literary Award for the best novel, original English or translated, published in the English-speaking world in a calendar year. The award was won by Gerbrand Bakker and translator David Colmer with The Twin in 2010. Arnon Grunberg’s Phantom Pain and Tommy Wieringa’s Caesarion (both tr. Sam Garrett) were shortlisted in 2005 and 2013 respectively, and Bakker/Colmer were shortlisted again for The Detour in 2014. Books by Cees Nooteboom and Connie Palmen were shortlisted in 1996, the prize’s inaugural year.
Dutch-language books have also done well with other English literary and translation prizes. The translators of Multatuli’s Max Havelaar, David McKay and Ina Rilke, have been shortlisted and may yet win this year’s Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. Annet Schaap and translator Laura Watkinson achieved a milestone when Lampie and the Children of the Sea was shortlisted as the first translation ever for the prestigious Carnegie Medal for children’s and YA literature. And in 2011 the Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation went to Judith Wilkinson for her translation of Toon Tellegen’s Raptors. I could continue in this vein about other prizes or the various short-listings for the Best Translated Book Awards and U.S. PEN Awards, Laura Watkinson’s seeming monopoly on the Batchelder Awards, or Dutch books that have climbed the bestseller charts. Suffice to say: with a brand-new Booker International win under its belt, Dutch literature in English is hot… but it’s been warming up for a while.
In addition to our usual round-up of recent and imminent publications, this newsletter features a special project by Strangers Press of the UK: a series of eight chapbooks introducing new Dutch writers in translations by up-and-coming translators, mentored by established Dutch-English literary translators. Approximately 10,000 words in length, the books are either fiction or nonfiction and have been published under the series title Verzet! See below for details.
Alfred Birney, The Interpreter from Java. Translated by David Doherty. London: Head of Zeus, 2020. HB.
Dola de Jong, The Tree and the Vine. Translated by Kristen Gehrman. Oakland (CA): Transit Books, 2020. PB.
Strangers Press Verzet! Chapbook Series
These short paperbacks can be ordered individually.
Karin Amatmoekrim, Reconstruction, short stories translated by Sarah Timmer-Harvey.
Sanneke van Hassel, Shelter, short stories translated by Danny Guinan.
Thomas Heerma van Voss, Thank You For Being With Us, short stories translated by Moshe Gilula.
Bregje Hofstede, Bergje, autobiographical essay translated by Alice Tetley-Paul.
Jamal Ouariachi, The Tourist Butcher, short stories translated by Scott Emblen-Jarrett.
Nina Polak, The Dandy, short stories translated by Emma Rault.
Gustaaf Peek Resist! In Defence of Communism, pamphlet translated by Brendan Monaghan.
Maartje Wortel, Something Has To Happen, short stories translated by Jozef van der Voort.
Rutger Bregman, Humankind: A Hopeful History. Translated by Elizabeth Manton, Erica Moore. London: Bloomsbury, 2020. HB.
Johan Huizinga, Autumntide of the Middle Ages. Translated by Diane Webb. Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2020. HB.
Cees Nooteboom, Venice: The Lion, the City and the Water. Translated by Laura Watkinson. London: MacLehose Press, 2020. HB
Miek Zwamborn, The Seaweed Collector’s Handbook. Translated by Michele Hutchison. London: Profile Books, 2020. HB.
Sanne Blauw, The Number Bias: How Numbers Lead and Mislead Us. Translated by Suzanne Heukensfeldt Jansen. London: Sceptre, 2020. HB.
Stefan Buijsman, Pluses and Minuses: How Maths Makes the World More Manageable. Translated by Andy Brown. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2020.
Jan Caeyers, Beethoven: A Biography. Translated by Brent Annable. Berkeley; Los Angeles etc.: University of California Press, 2020.
Jelmer Mommers, How Are We Going to Explain This? Our Future on a Hot Earth. Translated by Anna Asbury, Laura Vroomen. London: Profile Books, 2020. PB.
Selma van de Perre, My Name is Selma: The Remarkable Memoir of a Jewish Resistance Fighter and Ravensbrück Survivor. Translated by Alice Tetley-Paul, Anna Asbury. New York etc.: Bantam, 2020.
Jan Verplaetse, Blood Rush: The Dark History of a Vital Fluid. Translated by Andy Brown. London: Reaktion Books, 2020. HB.
Children’s and YA
Bibi Dumon Tak, Leave a Message in the Sand. Translated by Laura Watkinson. Illustrated by Annemarie van Haeringen. Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cambridge, U.K.: Eerdmans, HB.
Edward van de Vendel, Little Fox. Translated by David Colmer. Illustrated by Marije Tolman. New York: Levine Querido, HB.
Jef Aerts, Bigger Than a Dream. Translated by David Colmer. Illustrated by Marit Törnqvist. Montclair; Amsterdam; New York: Levine Querido, 2020. HB.
Jef Aerts, The Blue Wings. Translated by Laura Watkinson. Illustrated by Martijn van der Linden. Montclair; Amsterdam; New York: Levine Querido, 2020. HB.
Syl van Duyn, Girl Out of Place. Translated by Ernestine Hoegen. Aurora Metro Books, 2020. Kinder- en jeugdliteratuur, PB.
Peter Goes, Timeline: Science & Technology. Translated by Bill Nagelkerke. Wellington: Gecko Press, 2020. HB. Orders: www.bouncemarketing.co.uk
Jan de Kinder, Red. Translated by Laura Watkinson. Illustrated by Jan De Kinder. Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cambridge, U.K.: Eerdmans, 2020. PB.
Maren Stoffels, Escape Room. Translated by Laura Watkinson. New York: Delacorte Press, 2020. Kinder- en jeugdliteratuur, PB.
Mustafa Stitou, Two Half Faces. Translated by David Colmer. Dallas: Phoneme Media/Deep Vellum, 2020. PB.
Menno Wigman, The World by Evening: Selected Poems. Translated by Judith Wilkinson. Exeter: Shearsman Books, 2020. PB.
Sasja Janssen, Putting on My Species. Translated by Michele Hutchison. Exeter: Shearsman Books, 2020. PB.