Poetry News

2011 PEN Translation Fund winners announced

By Harriet Staff

The PEN American Center announced the 2011 Translation Fund Grant Recipients on Friday! From a field of more than 130 applicants, the Fund’s Advisory Board—David Bellos, Susan Bernofsky, Edwin Frank, Michael Reynolds, Natasha Wimmer, and Jeffrey Yang, chaired by Michael F. Moore—selected 11 projects for funding.

Among them were Annmarie S. Drury, for a collection of poems by Tanzanian poet Euphrase Kezilahabi, an acclaimed Swahili writer "whose work is only now becoming more widely available to other readers"; Hilary B. Kaplan for Rilke Shake by the inventive Brazilian writer Angélica Freitas ("Rilke Shake is a milkshake of incisive poetic wordplay and irreverent culture-crossing slang, expertly conveyed by Kaplan’s sharp translation"); and Catherine Schelbert for Flametti, or the Dandyism of the Poor, "a novel by visionary German writer Hugo Ball." Reports the PEN website: "This romp through early 20th-century Swiss low society offers an acerbic picture of class tensions and debasing social conditions. Ball, one of the leading Dadaists, said of Flametti, 'It contains my whole philosophy.' Schelbert’s compelling translation—the first into English—is long overdue, and offers readers an essential work in the Ball oeuvre."

Each translator receives $3,000 toward the completion of his or her project. The Fund was established in 2003 by an anonymous donor eager to support young translators and to encourage young writers to try their hands at translation. Board member Susan Bernofsky notes on her blog that all but one of the projects is looking for a publisher. View the entire list of winners here. Congrats to all!

Originally Published: July 18th, 2011