The Dutch Foundation for Literature’s Prizes 2011 for the Translator as Cultural Intermediary have been awarded to Vincent Hunink (Latin-Dutch), Bartho Kriek (English-Dutch) and Claudia Di Palermo (Dutch-Italian). These prizes are intended to emphasize their outstanding efforts on behalf of literature as well as the quality of their oeuvre as translators. The three winners each receive a sum of €10,000 to spend as they choose. The prizes were presented during the LiteraireVertaaldagen (‘Literary Translation Days’) on 9-10 December in Amsterdam.
Bartho Kriek (http://www NULL.barthokriek NULL.nl/) (b. 1950) has built up an impressive body of work over the past three decades and more, including translations of work by Kurt Vonnegut, Paul Auster, Philip Roth and two Nobel Prize Winners: Isaac Bashevis Singer and William Faulkner. The jury was particularly struck by his commitment and by the boldness and accuracy with which Kriek unlocks literature that is particularly difficult to translate. This applies especially to his recent translation of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (Het geluid en de drift), a complex and polyphonic novel in which each narrative voice is translated with great feeling for style and register. He has further helped to make this extraordinary, dark novel accessible by writing an afterword, a description of sources and a guide for the reader. Kriek is currently completing a new translation of the – even more challenging – Absalom, Absalom!
Vincent Hunink (http://www NULL.vincenthunink NULL.nl/) (b. 1962) receives the Dutch Foundation for Literature’s Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. While pursuing an academic career at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, he has managed to bring a wide range of classical works within the reach of a broad readership. He has translated from Latin and Neo-Latin philosophy, rhetoric, history, travel accounts and didactic prose by well known (Cicero, Tacitus, Caesar, Seneca and Augustine) and less well-known authors, including recently The Roman History (Van Troje tot Tiberius. De geschiedenis van Rome) by Velleius Paterculus. The jury was impressed by the way in which he holds to his principle of ‘old but new’. Hunink has had the courage, for instance, to make the radical choice of translating Tacitus Histories (Historiën) with a succinctness that closely follows Tacitus’ Latin, while his choice of words is refreshingly contemporary. He also provides his translations with outstanding annotations and introductions.
Claudia Di Palermo (b. 1967) has been active since 1999 as a cultural intermediary between Italy and the Netherlands. She presented the Teleac television programme Giro d’Italia, a twelve part series about Italy and the Italian language. For more than twelve years she has been an advisor to Italian publishers on Dutch literature, currently as freelance rights manager at Uitgeverij Prometheus/Bert Bakker. Alongside her work as an intermediary she has built up a varied and impressive oeuvre as a literary translator of Dutch works into Italian, including titles by Abdelkader Benali, Jan Brokken, Karel Glastra van Loon, Arnon Grunberg, Frans Kellendonk, Margriet de Moor, Cees Nooteboom, Dimitri Verhulst and Jan Wolkers. She also regularly makes use of her expertise by working as an editor, for the Italian translation of In Europe (In Europa) by Geert Mak, for example, and as a moderator of translation workshops and a mentor to new literary translators.
The Dutch Foundation for Literature awards three prizes each year to literary translators who have distinguished themselves both by the outstanding quality of their translation work and by their dedication as ambassadors for a particular language area or genre, and/or literary translation in general. With these prizes the Foundation aims to turn the spotlight on the important but often underappreciated contribution that translators make as creative artists and as intermediaries between languages, literatures and cultures. Of the three oeuvre prizes, one is awarded to a literary translator of prose and/or poetry into Dutch, one to a translator of literary non-fiction into Dutch and one to a literary translator from Dutch into another language.
The jury for the Dutch Foundation for Literature’s prize for a translator out of Dutch was formed by the Foundation’s translation department; this year’s jury for the Foundation’s prizes for translators into Dutch consisted of Hans Driessen, Jeanne Holierhoek and Djûke Poppinga (chairman).