Ross Benjamin has been awarded the prestigious Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for his English translation of Michael Maar’s acclaimed Speak, Nabokov. David Dollenmayer’s laudatory remarks concluded:
“What is translation?” asks Vladimir Nabokov in his apology to Pushkin for daring to translate Eugene Onegin into English: “What is translation? On a platter / A poet’s pale and glaring head, / A parrot’s screech, a monkey’s chatter, / And profanation of the dead.” Thankfully, Nabokov wasn’t always right. Thankfully, the very much alive Michael Maar, far from being profaned, is now available in a splendid English translation. Great pleasures await its readers, and the jury takes great pleasure in awarding the 2010 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize to Ross Benjamin.
Read the full speech here.
Michael Maar has taught at Stanford University and is a member of two German academies. A leading literary critic, he now lives in Berlin. He was awarded the 2010 Heinrich Mann Prize for his body of work by the Berlin Academy.
Ross Benjamin is a translator of German literature and a writer living in New York. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, the Nation, and other publications. His translations of Friedrich Hölderlin’s Hyperion (Archipelago Books) and Kevin Vennemann’s Close to Jedenew (Melville House) were published in 2008.