The American-Scandinavian Foundation has announced the winners of its 38th annual Translation Competition for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a Scandinavian author born after 1900. 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 winners this year were Kelsi Vanada (Monument, Colorado) and Sherilyn Hellberg Berkeley, California). Ms. Vanada received the Nadia Christensen Prize for her translation of poetry from Atlantis,, by Swedish author Marie Silkeberg (b. 1961). The ASF Translation Prize Jury praised Ms. Vanada: “Two sections of Marie Silkeberg’s collection Atlantis have been rendered by Kelsi Vanada in versions that capture perfectly the tone and mood of the very different parts of the work, one a chilling depiction of a country where violence, death and oppression coexist with oil riches and ostentatious wealth, the other a beautiful Swedish summer night where death waits quietly in the shadows.”
Ms. Vanada has an MFA in Poetry and an MFA in Literary Translation, both from The University of Iowa. She currently works as the Program Manager of The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).
As the winner, Ms. Vanada 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 Sherilyn Hellberg, from Berkeley, California, for her translation of poems from Nike by Danish poet Caspar Eric (b. 1987).
The Jury commended Ms. Hellberg for her exceptional work, “In this excerpt from the autobiographical long poem Nike by Danish author Caspar Eric Sherilyn Hellberg conveys to the reader in a convincing and idiomatic manner the intensity, raw emotion and occasional awkwardness in the voice of an angry protagonist who sees himself who sees himself as a dehumanized statistic of people with cerebral palsy.”
Ms. Hellberg is currently working toward a PhD in Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, where she focuses on modern and contemporary Danish, French, and German literature, film, and critical theory. She has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society from Columbia University and an M.Phil. in European and Comparative Literatures and Cultures from the University of Cambridge.
Ms. Hellberg 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.
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.