Japan’s “The Beast Player” and Finland’s “Maresi Red Mantle” Win 2020 GLLI Translated YA Book Prize

Winners Feature Striking Young Women Protagonists from Across the Globe

Maresi

The Beast Player, by Japan’s Nahoko Uehashi (translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano; Henry Holt & Co.) and Maresi Red Mantle, by Finland’s Maria Turtschaninoff (translated from the Swedish by A. A. Prime; Pushkin Press/Abrams Books) are co-winners of the 2020 GLLI Translated YA Book Prize. Administered by the Global Literatures in Libraries Initiative, the two-year-old prize recognizes publishers, translators, and authors of books in English translation for young adult (YA) readers.

The two novels feature young women protagonists in strikingly different fantasy worlds.

The Beast Player takes elements that frequently appear in conventional YA novels–an orphan, a school, magical beasts, and warring factions—but creates something totally fresh and unexpected, amidst a spectacularly developed world all its own,” said Committee Chair Annette Y. Goldsmith.

Maresi Red Mantle is a stirring epistolary novel that presents a young woman caught between two homes, cultures, and communities,” Goldsmith commented. “It is the concluding title in the Red Abbey Chronicles trilogy, but we were very impressed with how beautifully it works as a stand-alone title.” Its U.S. edition, published by Abrams Books, is titled Red Mantle.

The announcement of the prize is timed to coincide with International Children’s Book Day, which falls on April 2, the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. Fewer young adult (YA) books are translated into English than any other category of children’s literature, and the prize aims to bring attention to gems of world literature for teens.

“The worldwide spread of the Covid-19 pandemic shows just how interconnected we have become,” said GLLI Director Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds, “There couldn’t be a better time for teens to develop a global perspective on issues of concern to them, and reading is a great way to do that, especially when everyone is spending so much time indoors right now.”

The committee also selected two honor books. They are:

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin, translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) – NORWAY

Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel, translated from the French by Nanette McGuinness (Life Drawn) – FRANCE

The winning books were selected from a field of titles translated from 13 languages and representing 19 countries, from Iceland to India. Works published within three years of the submission deadline were considered.

Members of the prize committee include Annette Y. Goldsmith, chair and international youth literature specialist; Abigail Hsu, Morristown & Morris Township Library; David Jacobson, author and translator; Lynn E. Palermo, Susquehanna University; Kim Rostan, Wofford College; Elaine Tai, Burlingame Public Library; and Bobbie Xuereb, MiraCosta College. 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. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter (@GlobalLitinLibs), as well as at our website.

For more information about the prize and instructions for 2021 submissions, see: https://gllius.org/prizes/

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The 2020 Shortlist

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin, translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) – NORWAY

The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi, translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano (Henry Holt & Co.) – JAPAN

The Book of Pearl by Timothée de Fombelle, translated from the French by Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon (Walker Books) – FRANCE

The Casket of Time by Andri Snær Magnason, translated from the Icelandic by Björg Arnadóttir and Andrew Cauthery (Yonder/Restless Books) – ICELAND

Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro, translated from the Japanese by Takami Nieda (Amazon Crossing) – JAPAN

Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel, translated from the French by Nanette McGuinness (Life Drawn/Humanoids) – FRANCE

Maresi Red Mantle, Book 3 of the Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff, translated from the Swedish by A. A. Prime (Pushkin Press). The U.S. edition, just out in February 2020 from Abrams Books, is titled, Red Mantle – FINLAND

The Mirror Visitor Quartet: A Winter’s Promise (Book 1) and The Missing of Clairdelune (Book 2) by Christelle Dabos, translated from the French by Hildegarde Serle (Europa Editions) – FRANCE

Tamba: Child Soldier by Marion Achard, translated from the French by Montana Kane (NBM Publishing) – FRANCE

Tortot, the Cold Fish who Lost His World and Found His Heart by Benny Lindelauf, translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson (Pushkin Press) – NETHERLANDS

Trees for the Absentees by Ahlam Bsharat, translated from the Arabic by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and Sue Copeland (Neem Tree Press) – PALESTINE

Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw, translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson (Pushkin Press) – NETHERLANDS

2 thoughts on “Japan’s “The Beast Player” and Finland’s “Maresi Red Mantle” Win 2020 GLLI Translated YA Book Prize

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