‘Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture.’ (Anthony Burgess)
The Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize is for book-length literary translations into English from any living European language. It aims to honour the craft of translation, and to recognise its cultural importance. It is funded by Lord Weidenfeld and by New College, The Queen’s College and St Anne’s College, Oxford.
The winner of the 2013 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize was announced on the 6th June. The prize was awarded to Philip Boehm for his translation of The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller (Portobello). Philip Boehm was chosen from a shortlist of 6 translators:
The prize was presented by guest judge Adam Thorpe, who said
“The Hunger Angel is an astonishing and profoundly unsettling descent into the hell of the gulag, every bit as vivid as Solzhenitsyn’s work. It is also a remarkable celebration of human resilience. Peter Boehm’s translation perfectly captures, without a hint of pretension, the novel’s sensual, strange and often visionary lyricism – which went on haunting me into my own dreams.”
The full text of Adam Thorpe's speech can be found here.
This year’s entry was bigger and more varied than ever, with 135 books submitted by 48 publishers. As in 2012, twentieth-century history continued to be a dominant theme, an emphasis which was reflected in the shortlist. A mastery of genres, tones, and registers, as well as of complex and often traumatic subject matter, characterizes the titles shortlisted in 2013.
‘Common European thought is the fruit of the immense toil of translators. Without translators, Europe would not exist; translators are more important than members of the European Parliament.’ (Milan Kundera)