UR received recognition for one of its literary programs at the prestigious London Book Fair earlier this month.
The University’s Three Percent website seeks to expand recognition of international and non-English literature. The somewhat unusual name is a reference to the fact that only three percent of all books published in the U.S. were originally written in a language other than English. Three Percent works in tandem with UR’s publishing imprint, Open Letter, to achieve their goal.
Three Percent was founded in 2007 and since 2008 has given out a Best Translated Book Award (BTBA) each year. The award recognizes the most outstanding English translations of the past year, with the winning book chosen by panels of judges drawn from the publishing and translating communities. One work of fiction and one poetry collection have been recognized each year since 2009.
Dean for Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies Thomas DiPiero noted that Three Percent and Open Letter “have been recognized internationally almost since their inception seven years ago. The Best Translated Book Award is the latest innovation to come from the talented press staff to champion international book culture.”
That international recognition got a boost on April 8, when the International Book Industry’s Excellence Awards took place at Earls Court Exhibition Center in London, England. One of the honors given out at the event was the International Literary Translation Initiative Award, which went to the UR’s Best Translated Book Award.
The Best Translated Book Award has grown in scope in recent years. In 2011, the program received funding from Internet retailer Amazon, which allowed Three Percent to provide cash prizes to recipients of the award.
Now, Three Percent will have even greater exposure, including a reputation as one of the most important American awards for international literature.
Director of Three Percent Chad Post said of the London Book Fair’s recognition of the award, “It provides us with extra motivation to make the BTBA one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world.”
“This award is a testament to the great work of everyone involved,” Post said in a UR press release earlier this week, “especially the judges, who have read hundreds of books and who continue to promote so many important works of literature in translation.”
Dean DiPiero explained that there are numerous opportunities for student involvement in the realm of international literature. He listed some of the opportunities open to students, including UR’s Literary Translation Studies certificate, as well as student employment at Open Letter press. Regarding undergraduate involvement, Post added that interested students can register for LTS 396: Introduction to Literary Publishing.
Three Percent will announce the winners of the 2014 Best Translated Book Award on their website at 1:00pm on Monday, April 28.
Passanisi is a member of the class of 2017.