Two novels about gay life in Brazil have won the GLLI Translated YA Book Prize, given annually to young adult books that have been translated into English.
David Jacobson, the chair of the prize committee, praised both books as “outstanding.”
“We see far too few translations from our neighbors in Latin America and it is gratifying to see publishers making them available for teens in English,” Jacobson said. Both novels are published in the United States by Scholastic.
Martins’ book follows an overweight young gay man who has a crush on a childhood acquaintance, while Rocha’s novel follows three HIV-positive queer men living in Brazil. Reviewers for Kirkus called Martins’ book “uplifting” and Rocha’s “simply fearless.”
The titles were selected from an eight-member prize committee that included Kirkus reviewers Abigail Hsu and Rachel Wang. The committee also designated two “honor books,” Won-pyung Sohn’s Almond, translated by Sandy Joosun Lee, and Mats Strandberg’s The End, translated by Judith Kiros.
The GLLI Translated YA Book Prize was first awarded by the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative in 2019. Previous winners include Gengoroh Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband, translated by Anne Ishii; Nahoko Uehashi’s The Beast Player, translated by Cathy Hirano; and Maria Turtschaninoff’s Maresi Red Mantle, translated by A.A. Prime.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.