My Brother’s Husband: Vol. 1 & 2, by Japan’s Gengoroh Tagame (translated from the Japanese by Anne Ishii; Pantheon Books) is the winner of the inaugural GLLI Translated YA Book Prize. Administered by the Global Literatures in Libraries Initiative, it is the first prize to recognize publishers, translators, and authors of books in English translation for young adult readers.
My Brother’s Husband is a two-volume manga that gently but effectively guts homophobia in Japanese society. When Mike, the Canadian husband of Yaichi’s late brother shows up on his doorstep, Yaichi is courteous but standoffish, while his young daughter Kana is thrilled to meet her gay uncle.
“The committee loved this sweet, nuanced story of coming to terms with one’s own prejudices and embracing a truly modern family,” said committee member Annette Y. Goldsmith.
Books in translation have received greater attention in recent years, thanks in part to the National Book Foundation’s new prize for translated literature, but they still amount to a paltry three percent of all books published.
“Books in translation for young adults remain a tiny fraction of even those in translation,” said GLLI Director Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds, “There is an urgent need for greater international understanding and cross-cultural empathy among our young people. Reading books can help bridge those gaps.”
Three honor books were also selected. They include: La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono, translated from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel (Feminist Press) – EQUATORIAL GUINEA
Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais, translated from the French by the author (Pushkin Children’s Books) – FRANCE
Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lövestam, translated from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg (Flatiron Books) – SWEDEN
The winning books were selected from a field of titles translated from 13 languages and representing 13 countries, as far afield as Equatorial Guinea, Bangladesh and Norway. Works published within three years of the submission deadline were considered. The prize will be presented at the American Library Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., June 20-25, 2019.
Members of the prize committee include Annette Y. Goldsmith, international youth literature specialist; Gene Hayworth, University of Colorado; Kim Rostan, Wofford College; Laura Simeon, Kirkus Reviews; and Elaine Tai, Burlingame Public Library. They were assisted by GLLI Director Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds.
The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative brings together translators, librarians, teachers,editors and others dedicated to helping librarians identify and raise the visibility of world literature for children, teens, and adults. Our activities include creating pan-publisher catalogs; maintaining a database of translations; sharing ideas for selecting, evaluating, using and promoting world literature for all ages; and administering the GLLI Translated YA Book Prize.
Hurray for these books without borders and for the publishers who have now brought them to new readers and markets.