Mario Lattes Translation Prize 2024

The award ceremony for the Mario Lattes Translation Prize 2024 was held at the Castle of Perno, in the hills of the Langhe. Organized by Fondazione Bottari Lattes, with the support from Fondazione CRT that has always been committed to supporting and promoting culture, the prize aims to highlight the role and contribution of translators in bringing different peoples closer together and promoting the knowledge of less well-known authors to the Italian public. Now in its third edition, the prize this year was dedicated to the Spanish-American language.

The winner is Maria Nicola, translator of the novel The Plains by Federico Falco, an Argentine of Italian origin, specifically from Piedmont, published in Italy by Sur. The novel explores the search for a new balance through a rediscovery of the world, intertwining personal histories, family memories and enlightening readings that speak of the passage of time, solitude and life after love.

As in previous editions—dedicated to translations from Arabic and Chinese—the selection process was divided into two stages. Initially, the permanent jury, composed of Anna Battaglia, Melita Cataldi, Mario Marchetti and Antonietta Pastore, identified the five finalists: in addition to the winner, they included Alberto Bile Spadaccini with Il Gran Burundún-Burundá è morto by Jorge Zalamea (Colombia, published by Arcoiris), Ilide Carmignani with Lutto by Eduardo Halfon (Guatemala, published by il Saggiatore), Raul Schenardi with Fra le tue dita gelate by Francisco Tario (Mexico, published by Safarà), and Giulia Zavagna with Chiamatemi Cassandra by Marcial Gala (Cuba, published by Sellerio).

The specialized jury, composed of contemporary Spanish-American language experts Monica Bedana, Gina Maneri and Vittoria Martinetto, then selected the winner, highlighting how she stood out for “a stylistic rendition of great sensitivity and elegance, finding, in absolute respect for the author’s wording, the most suitable solutions to render a text rich in technicalities and elaborate descriptions of the naturalistic domain. The resulting Italian language is crystalline, never clouded—in syntactic constructions or lexical choices—by residues of the source language. Loyalty to the original text and readability for the readers thus find a happy meeting point in this translation, highlighting the translator’s full adherence to Federico Falco’s intimate signature style.” The award also recognizes the professional careerm of Maria Nicola, who for decades has contributed to the dissemination of Spanish and Spanish-American literature in Italy, giving voice to numerous authors including Roberto Bolaño, Alicia Giménez-Bartlett, Mario Levrero, Sergio del Molino, Alan Pauls, Juan Rulfo, Samanta Schweblin, and Alejandro Zambra.