© Ebba Drolshagen

‘Her translations are playful but always responsive; they reveal a translator who makes independent and vital choices, but at the same time resists the temptation to prettify the text according to her own preferences,’ one jury member said. ‘Literature needs translators with daring and confidence, translators who prompt discussion about translations, both internally and externally. Kaminka is one such translator.’

Ika Kaminka (b. 1958) has been a translator for over twenty years, and has particularly distinguished herself as a translator of Japanese literature. In awarding this prize, the jury is not only recognising an impressive career as a translator, but also Kaminka’s important role in opening up the way to Japanese literature and culture. ‘A translator’s work doesn’t necessarily need to stay inside the covers of a book. Kaminka is among the translators who demonstrate that best in Norway; for the last few decades she has distinguished herself as a unique intermediary for Japanese literature. There has been a growing interest in books from Japanese throughout these years. That is partly due to the popularity of Haruki Murakami. But if the interest hasn’t stopped there it is down not least to Ika Kaminka. The list of interesting Japanese writers that she has helped to introduce to Norway is considerable.’

Aside from Ika Kaminka’s translations of Haruki Murakami, over the years she has translated experimental poets such as Hiromi Itō and classics such as Jun’ichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters. The jury also recognised Kaminka’s efforts on behalf of translators as president of the Norwegian Translators’ Association (https://oversetterforeningen NULL.no/) in the periods 2008-2010 and 2014-2020. Ika was also a very active delegate at CEATL, where she was a member of the Best Practices working group, from 2014 to 2020.

The Literary Translators’ Fund Prize consists of 50,000 Krone and a diploma. The jury consisted of Janicken von der Fehr, Arts Council Norway, Carina Elisabeth Beddari, Morgenbladet and Knut Andreas Grimstad of Oslo University.

The 2021 Skjønnlitterære Oversetterfonds prize goes to our former delegate Ika Kaminka
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