The Vondel Translation Prize 2013 has been awarded to David Colmer for The Misfortunates, his translation into English of De helaasheid der dingen by Flemish author Dimitri Verhulst. The jury consisted of British critic Paul Binding (Times Literary Supplement) and translators Sam Garrett and Paul Vincent.
The Misfortunates was published in 2012 by Portobello Books of London. Colmer also translated two previous books by the same author, Problemski Hotel (2005, Problemski Hotel) and Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill (2009, Mevrouw Verona daalt de heuvel af).
The runner-up was Ina Rilke for The Black Lake (Oeroeg) by Hella S. Haasse. Johanna W. Prins and Johanna H. Prins received honourable mention for Mother Number Zero (Moeder nummer nul) by Marjolijn Hof.
The Vondel Translation Prize is awarded every two years for the best book translation into English of a Dutch literary or cultural-historical work. The prize was established by the British Society of Authors and is financed by the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Flemish Literature Fund. The winner receives the sum of €5000.
David Colmer (b. 1960) is Australian by birth and has lived in Amsterdam since 1992. He has previously won awards including the IMPAC Dublin Prize 2010 for The Twin (Boven is het stil) by Gerbrand Bakker, the Dutch Foundation for Literature’s Translation Prize for his oeuvre as a whole (2012), and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013 for The Detour (De omweg) by Gerbrand Bakker. As well as being the translator of a large and varied body of work, he regularly acts as a teacher and mentor to new translators.
The prize will be presented on 11 February 2014 in The Army and Navy Club, St James’s Square, Piccadilly, London, along with a number of other European translator prizes.