Clint Bruce holds the Canada Research Chair in Acadian and Transnational Studies (CRÉAcT), is Director of the Observatoire Nord/Sud and assistant professor in the Department of Humanities at Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia. He is also a research associate at the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and at the L.R. Wilson Institute of Canadian History at McMaster University. A native of Shreveport, Professor Bruce holds a doctorate from Brown University, a master’s degree from CUNY—Lehman College, and two bachelor’s degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana. Readings of poems from the book and background on overlooked events from Reconstruction era Louisiana, including the New Orleans massacre of 1866 are available in his interview on SoundCloud: Poetry Spoken Here.
Robert Chandler & Elizabeth Chandler
The 2020 award went to Robert and Elizabeth Chandler for their translation from the Russian of Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad. Set in Russia in the midst of WWII, the novel follows the Shaposhnikov family as they grapple with the nearing German invasion, providing an intimate portrait of humanity in the face of disaster. According to the Modern Language Association, “Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler’s historical understanding and archival research made it possible to produce a book that salvages the novel from the fate of its mangled original, censored in the process of writing, editing, and production.” The Chandlers’ translation makes Grossman’s masterpiece available to English language readers for the first time.
Virlana Tkacz & Wanda Phipps
Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps received an honorable mention for their translation from the Ukranian of Serhiy Zhadan’s What We Live For, What We Die For: Selected Poems by Serhiy Zhadan. The collection includes selected works detailing the haunting realities of life in war-torn Ukraine from seven of Zhadan’s previous publications, released between 2001 and 2015. According to Dzvinia Orlowsky of the Solstice Literary Magazine, “These eloquent translations read as if the poems were conceived in English. Every poem transports readers to an authentic, emotional destination.” Tkacz and Phipps have been collaborating since 1989, and are codirectors of the Yara Arts Group in New York.
An honorable mention was awarded to Jonathan Wright for his translation from the Arabic of Sinan Antoon’s fourth novel, The Book of Collateral Damage. The novel follows Nameer, an Iraqi scholar studying in the United States, as he attempts to document and come to terms with the devastating aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Based on Antoon’s own experiences in witnessing the destruction when returning to his hometown of Bhagdad after the invasion, the novel offers important commentary on both the human and environmental costs of war. Wright is a celebrated British journalist and literary translator, specializing in Arabic translation.
Robert Chandler & Elizabeth Chandler
Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler received recognition for their translation of The Captain’s Daughter, by Alexander Pushkin (New York Book Review Books, 2014).
Joel Scott is a poet and translator from Sydney, Australia, currently a resident in Berlin. He translates from German and Spanish into English. He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies from Macquarie University. He is currently working on translating the third volume of Peter Weiss’s magnum opus Die Ästhetik des Widerstands which is set to appear in 2023. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Bildverbot and Diary Farm.
Asselin Charles, a professor of Communication and Literary Studies at Sheridan College, was awarded an honorable mention for his translation from the French of Frankétienne’s Dézafi. Written in an experimental style, Dézafi follows the story of a Hatian plantation that is worked by zombies under the rule of a living master. When the master’s daughter falls in love with a zombie, allowing him to return to his human form, an uprising begins amongst the zombie workers to challenge their oppression. The novel provides a poignant commentary on Haiti’s history of slavery, and Charles’ translation brings it to English language readers for the first time.
Donald Rayfield was awarded an honorable mention for his translation from the Russian of Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Stories, Vol. 1. Kolyma Stories is a collection of short fictional stories based upon the fifteen years that Shalamov spent in a Soviet prison camp. According to Penguin Random House, “[Shalamov’s] stories are at once the biography of a rare survivor, a historical record of the Gulag, and a literary work of unparalleled creative power, insight, and conviction.” Rayfield, a professor of Russian and Georgian at the Queen Mary University of London, is an English author and translator and has written several acclaimed books examining Russian and Georgian history.
The 2019 award went to Damion Searls for his translation from the German of Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl by Uwe Johnson. Set in 1967, the book follows the lives of Gesine Cresspahl, a German émigré to Manhattan and single mother to ten-year-old Marie, dedicating a chapter for each day of the year. Damion Searls is an American translator and writer who specializes in translation from German, Norwegian, French, and Dutch. According to Parul Sehgal of The New York Times, “Searls’s superb translation inscribes Johnson’s restlessness and probing into word choice and the structures of the sentences themselves, which quiver with the anxiety to get things right, to see the world as it is.”
The 2019 award went to Susan Bernofsky for her translation from the German of Go, Went, Gone, by Jenny Erpenbeck. Erpenbeck is the award-winning author of seven novels, five of which Bernofsky has translated into English. Erpenbeck’s moving 2015 novel Go, Went, Gone recounts the story of a former (East German) academic who befriends and becomes involved in the precarious lives of a group of African refugees in Berlin. Bernofsky, one of today’s best-known translators of German-language literature, directs the Program in Literary Translation in the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
Alistair Ian Blyth
MLA Roth Award, Honora>descent. In this moving novel, he unfolds the experience and memory of the horrific Armenian genocide that took place a century ago in the Ottoman Empire. Originally written in 2009/12 and translated into over 20 languages, Blyth’s translation makes the book available to English-language readers for the first time.
Maureen Freely & Alexander Dawes
Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawes won the MLA-Roth Award for their spectacular translation of The Time Regulation Institute (Penguin, 2014), by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, which describes the misadventures of the antihero Hayri Irdal, as tradition meets modernity in early 20th-century Turkey. In the words of Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, “Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar is undoubtedly the most remarkable author in modern Turkish literature. With The Time Regulation Institute, this great writer has created an allegorical masterpiece, which makes Turkey’s attempts to westernize and its delayed modernity understandable in all its human ramifications.”
Aaron Poochigian received recognition for his translation of Jason and the Argonauts, by Apollonius of Rhodes (Penguin, 2014).
For his translation of The Tale of the Heike (Viking, 2012). Tyler is at Australian National University.
Robert Chandler & Elizabeth Chandler
For their translation of Happy Moscow, by Andrey Platonov (New York Review Books, 2012).
For The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition (Yale Univ. Press, 2012).
Christina E. Kramer
For her translation of Freud’s Sister by Goce Smilevski (Penguin, 2012).
Gordon M. Sayre
For his translation of The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont 1715-1747: A Sojourner in the French Atlantic, by Jean-Francois-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny (Univ. of North Carolina Press, for the Omohundro Inst. of Early American History and Culture, 2012). Sayre is at the University of Oregon.
Arkadi Klioutchanski & John Woodsworth
Joint award, with Arkadi Klioutchanski, for their translation of My Life, the autobiography of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya, Leo Tolstoy’s wife of over fifty years. Woodworth is at the University of Ottawa.
Michael Berry & Susan Chan Egan
For their translation of Wang Anyi’s Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai. Berry is at UC Santa Barbara.
*The Prix Coindreau Prize, The Jeanne Varnay Pleasants Prize for Language Teaching, and the CASVA-Henry & Judith Millon Award are currently inactive.