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Alice Whitmore wins the NSW Premier’s Prize for her translation of Imminence

Congratulations to Alice Whitmore, whose translation from Spanish of Imminence by Mariana Dimópulos is the joint winner of the 2021 NSW Premier’s Translation Prize. Imminence is the second novel by Dimópulos that Alice Whitmore has translated, following Giramondo’s 2017 publication of All My Goodbyes.

Watch Alice’s acceptance speech and read the judges comments below:

This beautifully conceived and crafted novel makes time stand still, as a new mother is filled with an absence of feeling for her baby. Taking place over an evening and a lifetime, the narrative unfolds in circular, spiralling scenes and meditations without ever losing its focus. The fragmentation of singular moments builds to a strangely satisfying ending. This work pulls readers into a slow burn treatment of trauma that is entirely present but also part of a complex psychology inflected by all that has come before. 

Elegant and precise, this work is subtle in its intrigue, offering readers the freedom to weave their own conclusions as they retrace the woman’s life over 20 years: her lovers and friendships, a country cousin, mathematical formulae, deserts. Through a dexterous mix of dreamlike, real and delusional emotions and atmospheres, this fluent translation superbly conveys the peculiar and economic use of the writer’s language and style. 

Imminence opens up its characters’ lives like complex clockwork, taking us into parts usually concealed to wonder at the deeper philosophical mysteries of time, truth, perception and one’s struggle to know others. The translation reads flawlessly in its rendition of the lyrical strangeness, detachment and beauty of the author’s compelling voice and vision.

Judges’s report

Alice Whitmore is a writer and literary translator living on Gunditjmara country. Her translations from Spanish to English include Mariana Dimópulos’s All My Goodbyes and Imminence, Guillermo Fadanelli’s See You at Breakfast?, and Xhevdet Bajraj’s Collected Poems. She is the translations editor at Cordite Poetry Review and an associate editor at Giramondo.

View the full list of winners at the State Library of NSW website and watch the full announcement on the SLNSW Youtube channel.

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