MLA-Roth Award, 2018
The 2018 award went to Liam Mac Com Iomaire and Tim Robinson for their translation of Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Irish classic, Graveyard Clay / Cré na Cille: A Narrative in Ten Interludes (Yale University Press, 2016). In critical opinion and popular polls, Graveyard Clay is invariably ranked the most important prose work in modern Irish. It is a novel of black humor, reminiscent of the work of Synge and Beckett. The story unfolds entirely in dialogue as the newly dead arrive in the graveyard, bringing news of recent local happenings to those already confined in their coffins. Avalanches of gossip, backbiting, flirting, feuds, and scandal-mongering ensue, while the absurdity of human nature becomes ever clearer. This bold new translation is the shared project of two fluent speakers of the Irish of Ó Cadhain’s native region.