Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, trans. by Rhonda Mullins, makes Best Translated Book Award shortlist

The novel, inspired by the grandmother of Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, is one of 10 books up for the $10,000 U.S. prize.
Suzanne was written by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and translated by Rhonda Mullins. (Sarah Scott/Coach House)

Suzanne by Quebec actress and writer Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated from French to English by Rhonda Mullins, has been shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award.

The annual prize celebrates the best translated books of fiction and poetry from around the world. The winning writer and translator will each receive $5,000 U.S. (approx. $6,388.00 Cdn).

Suzanne is inspired by Barbeau-Lavalette's grandmother, a French Canadian poet associated with the dissident group Les Automatistes. Suzanne abandoned her husband and their young family and, as a result, Barbaeau-Lavalette grew up not knowing her grandmother. The novel Suzannea story that spans oceans, lovers and political movements — was created based on the findings of a private investigator.

Ten books have been chosen as finalists from a longlist of 25. The other books on the shortlist are:

  • Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson (Iceland), translated by Lytton Smith
  • Compass by Mathias Énard (France), translated by Charlotte Mandell
  • ​The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán (Argentina), translated by Will Vanderhyden
  • Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa (Colombia), translated by Howard Curtis
  • Old Rendering Plant by Wolfgang Hilbig (Germany), translated by Isabel Fargo Cole
  • I Am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy (Switzerland), translated by Gini Alhadeff
  • ​My Heart Hemmed In by Marie NDiaye (France), translated by Jordan Stump
  • August by Romina Paula (Argentina), translated by Jennifer Croft
  • Remains of Life by Wu He (Taiwan), translated by Michael Berry

The winners will be announced on May 31, 2018, in New York.

This year's fiction jury is comprised of Caitlin Baker, Kasia Bartoszyńska, Tara Cheesman-Olmsted, Lori Feathers, Mark Haber, Adam Hetherington, Jeremy Keng, Bradley Schmidt and P.T. Smith.

Read about the poetry finalists here.


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