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The Globalization of the National Book Awards

It’s no longer the first time the National Book Awards has broadened its scope. In the 1960s and 1970s, an array of new classes had been added, together with prizes in science, philosophy and faith, historical past and biography, arts and letters, recent idea, autobiography, first novel, authentic paperback and youngsters’s books, in addition to a prize for translation. Then, in 1986, the group scaled again significantly, to simply two awards, for fiction and nonfiction. It later added poetry and younger other people’s literature.

The new translation prize marks the first time the basis has added a class in additional than twenty years.

Other literary establishments have additionally made efforts to spotlight works in translation. The PEN American Center has given out a translation prize to spotlight world works since the 1960s. In 2015, the Booker Prize Foundation recast its world prize, which used to be prior to now open to novelists writing in English, as an award devoted to fiction in translation.

When different main literary awards have expanded their geographic achieve, there’s once in a while been a backlash. In 2014, the Man Booker Prize, which used to be prior to now open best to writers from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth, started bearing in mind any novel written in English and printed in Britain, prompting lawsuits that the prize used to be sacrificing its British personality. Some expressed fear that American writers would dominate the award, and the ones fears were heightened in recent times as Americans have made up a disproportionate percentage of writers who make the shortlist. (For the final two years, the Booker has long past to Paul Beatty and George Saunders, who're each from the United States).

In including a translation prize, the National Book Foundation would possibly repair some steadiness, by means of opening an American award to in another country authors.

“It goes to the mission of the organization, which is at its essence, to increase the impact of great books on the culture,” mentioned David Steinberger, chairman of the board of administrators of the National Book Foundation. “There were so many deserving books that we were never able to recognize.”

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