EEG by Daša Drndić wins the Best Translated Book Award


The 2020 edition of Best Translated Book Award went to the novel EEG written by Daša Drndić, translated by Celia Hawkesworth and published by New Directions.

Best Translated Book Award recognizes the previous year's best original translation into English in two categories, fiction and poetry collections. This year, the poetry award went to the Lebanese-American poet Etel Adnan, whose collection Time was translated by Sara Riggs.

EEG is Daša Drndić' last novel and her fourth title translated into English by Celia Hawkesworth, the esteemed translator with over 40 translations in her prolific career. Her translation of Belladonna by Daša Drndić won the Warwick Prize in 2018.

The jury of the Best Translated Book Award writes of EEG: “Daša Drndić in her encyclopedic, panoramic novel, superbly translated by Celia Hawkesworth, calls forth the ghosts of Europe’s 20th century in a biting indictment against complacency and the comfort and convenience of forgetting. A frenzy of observations and deeply researched facts, seething with rage and urgency, it is a haunting and masterful final work. A final work that continues on like a river. It rushes, rages through time, collecting detritus and eroding the landscape, shifting and changing at every bend. It smothers and subsumes, with palpable anger as it attempts to drown the reader again and again before granting them air at the last possible moment. There may be no better descriptor for Hawkesworth’s translation of Drndić’s prose than torrential. You may struggle and try to resist, but at a certain point, you will let yourself be swept away by it. You will give in and trust that it knows which way to go. Once in that place, EEG holds and envelops like few books in memory have.”

The Best Translated Book Award was inaugurated in 2008 by Three Percent, the online literary magazine of the University of Rochester. The award takes into consideration not only the quality of the translation but the entire package: the work of the original writer, translator, editor, and publisher. The award is "an opportunity to honor and celebrate the translators, editors, publishers, and other literary supporters who help make literature from other cultures available to American readers."