Sinan Antoon, co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya, received the 2012 National Translation Award for In the Presence of Absence (Archipelago Books, 2011), his translation of Fi Hadrat al-Ghiyab (2006), the last prose book by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008). The $5,000 prize is given annually to a translator whose work, by virtue of its quality and significance, has made the most valuable contribution to literary translation in the U.S and Canada in the preceding calendar year.
The vice-president of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA), Professor Elizabeth Lowe, awarded the prize at the annual conference held in Rochester, New York, this past week. Antoon’s translation was unanimously chosen by the judges from a pool of 119 books whittled down to seven books after two rounds. The judges praised the lyricism of the text and the preface and critical apparatus accompanying it and illuminating historical, political and cultural allusions and information for the benefit of the readers.
Antoon’s translation was a runner-up for the Pen Translation Prize this year.