The annual Read Russia Prize for Russian literature in English translation will be awarded in New York on May 29. There are seven nominees on the shortlist, including two new translations of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” one by Rosamund Bartlett and another by Marian Schwartz.
Other books include Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” translated by Oliver Ready, “Selected Poems” by the Silver Age poet Vladislav Khodasevich, translated by Peter Daniels, and the fantastic novel “Before and During” by Vladimir Sharov, which was written in 1993 and is set in a psychiatric clinic in Moscow during the long decades of late-Soviet stagnation. It is also translated by Oliver Ready.
The contemporary writer and journalist Anna Starobinets features for her work “The Icarus Gland,” translated by Jamie Rann, while the late Russian-American author Sergei Dovlatov features for “Pushkin Hills,” which was translated in 2013 by his daughter Katherine. It is a partially autobiographical work that follows Boris, an unpublished author on his way to work as a tour guide in the poet Alexander Pushkin’s old family estates.
“Pushkin Hills” is also the only Russian book among the 10 finalists for the fiction category of the Best Translated Book Award. This prize is awarded by Three Percent, the online literary magazine for Open Letter Books – the University of Rochester’s literary translation press.
Katherine Dovlatov told RBTH: “When I decided to try translating dad's ‘Zapovednik’ [The Russian title of “Pushkin Hills”] I wasn't entirely sure I could do it, that I had what it takes to do justice to my dad's work. Being shortlisted for not one but two translation prizes feels incredible. It makes me think that I have done something right. It gives me confidence to translate more. Just being shortlisted feels like a win.”
The ceremony for the 2015 Read Russia Prize will be held in the Grolier Club in New York City. Professor Gary Saul Morson, translator and Frances Hooper Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University, will assist in presenting the awards to the winning translators and publishers.
Read Russia, founded in 2012 by Peter Kaufman, is an initiative based in Moscow, New York, and London that celebrates Russian literature and culture. Through innovative programs, projects, and events supporting the English-language translation and publication of Russian works, Read Russia gives international audiences fresh opportunities to engage – in person, on screen, and online – with Russia’s literary leaders and heritage.
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