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Haikasoru at the World Fantasy Convention

by nickmamatas

This past weekend I attended the 2009 World Fantasy Convention. As they say in the junior high school paper after the student play, “Everybody had a good time.” But more than that was had! For example, Haikasoru had a presence on the “Fantasy in Translation” panel. Check out this photographic evidence:


From L to R: Your handsome Haikasoru editor, Rani Graff, Cheryl Morgan, Ann Vandermeer, Zoran Živković. Photo by Kevin Standlee, with permission.

Zoran Živković discussed his attempt to find an audience larger than he could have ever had in his native Serbian by investing heavily in private translations of his work into English. Ann Vandermeer, fiction editor of the venerable Weird Tales spoke of her experiences in bringing out the first “international” issue in the magazine’s eighty-five year history. We also talked about the number of books translated into English each year, the expense and difficulty of doing so and the importance of making sure that translators get their due. I was happy to report to the audience that Haikasoru titles always have the translator’s byline right on the front cover.

Cheryl Morgan moderated the panel and had a special announcement: the launch of The Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards, for works of speculative fiction translated into English from other languages. It should be a pretty good award, as such things go—the University of California, Riverside’s Eaton Collection is associated with the initiative and will likely be hosting the first ceremony in 2011. Also, cash prizes!

Many other countries, such as Germany and Finland, have their own awards for SF/F and many of these awards also include awards for translated fiction, often but not always from English—in Finland a book translated from a regional Kenyan language recently won—but in the Anglophone world such a prize category is lacking. Of course, there are awards for works in translation; Haikasoru’s own Brave Story won the Batchelder Award for children’s literature in translation. (Have I mentioned that the paperback is coming out in a mere two weeks?) But the SFFTA’s are the first sf/fantasy-specific award. Check out the press release if you’d like to play the home game version of the panel.

There was more to WFC than panels and prizes though. There were parties and goody bags featuring copies of ZOO and The Lord of the Sands of Time, which were eagerly gobbled up by attendees, readings, and whirls of words and art. And very little sleep.

Haikasoru hopes to be hitting more conventions this year and next, so do keep an eye out at your local SF hootenanny.

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