Fellowships & Grants

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ASF Awards Translation Prizes to Barbara Sjoholm & Kara Billey Thordarson

The Board of Trustees of The American-Scandinavian Foundation announced that Barbara Sjoholm from Port Townsend, WA, has been awarded the Nadia Christensen Prize for her translation of Rydde ut, by Norwegian author Helene Uri (b. 1964).

The judges praised the translation and made the following comments about Mrs. Sjoholm’s work: “The translation succeeds in transferring the Norwegian text with its staccato rhythm and fast tempo into free-flowing colloquial English without sacrificing the linguistic tautness of the original prose.” Ms. Sjoholm has translated short stories and novels from Norwegian and Danish to English, and has published more than 20 books, including novels, short story collections, travel narratives, a memoir and a forthcoming biography. In 2009 and 2016, she received ASF grant for creative writing projects in Scandinavia.

As the winner, Mrs. Sjoholm received a $2,500 honorarium and a commemorative bronze medallion.

The Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award, recognizing distinguished effort by a translator who has not previously published a literary translation, was given to Kara Billey Thordarson, from Red Deer, Alberta, for her translation of Stormviðvörun by Icelandic author Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir (b. 1985). The Translation Prize jury praised the translation by stating: “The translator captures the exuberant language of the original poems with perfect pitch for Tómasdóttir’s gleeful satire on everyday life and its challenges.” Ms. Thordarson received her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Columbia University in 2015. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Alberta in 2009.

Ms. Thordarson received a $2,000 honorarium and a commemorative bronze medallion.

Excerpts of both translations will appear in an upcoming issue of Scandinavian Review, the journal published by The American-Scandinavian Foundation.

Two translation prizes are offered each year by the ASF: the Nadia Christensen Prize, and the Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award, which recognizes distinguished effort by a translator who has not previously published a literary translation from a Nordic language. Since 1980, the work of nearly 50 translators has been recognized through the ASF translation competition.

The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF), incorporated in New York State in 1911, is the leading cultural and educational link between the U.S. and the Nordic countries. A publicly-supported American nonprofit organization, the ASF works to build international understanding through an extensive program of fellowships, grants, intern/trainee sponsorship, publishing, and membership offerings and through its cultural center in New York City: Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America. The ASF translation prizes are awarded annually for the best translation of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose originally written in a Nordic language by a Scandinavian author born after 1900.