The American-Scandinavian Foundation

ASF Awards Translation Prizes to Randi Ward & Sola O'Connell

The American-Scandinavian Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its 33rd annual translation competition.  Randi Ward received the ASF’s main Translation Award, the Nadia Christensen Prize, for her translation of Planks, by Faroese poet Tóroddur Poulsen, and Sola O'Connell received the Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award for her translation of selected poems by Icelandic poet Gyrðir Elíasson. 

Ms. Ward is a writer, translator, lyricist and photographer from West Virginia. She earned her MA in Cultural Studies from the University of the Faroe Islands in 2007. Her work has appeared in several publications – notably: Beloit Poetry JournalAnthology of Appalachian Writers, Cold Mountain ReviewVencil: Anthology of Contemporary Faroese Literature. The judges said Ms. Ward’s translation “meticulously and convincingly conveyed in English the startling, spare quality of Tóroddur Poulsen's poems, allowing readers to enter the shadowy dreams and wry humor of the poet's world while offering an unexpected glimpse of the power of the Faroese language. This excellent translation for the first time gives a wider audience the opportunity to listen to a poetic voice from a vibrant culture that is largely unknown to the English speaking world.”

A native Icelander who has lived in New York for the past thirty years, Ms. O’Connell is pursuing a lifelong interest in bringing Icelandic poetry and literature to an English speaking audience. The judges said Ms. O’Connell’s “concise and deliberate translations of poems by Gyrðir Eliasson bring vividly to life the stark landscape of Iceland and the anguished observations of the poet in a collection of apocalyptic visions and dreams of future life under a cooling sun..” She is currently translating a collection of contemporary Icelandic poetry (working title: Beneath the Ice) and working on further translations of Gyrðir Eliasson’s works.

The winners each receive a cash prize, a bronze medallion, and publication of an excerpt of their translation in Scandinavian Review, the illustrated journal published by the ASF.

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.  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 1800.

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