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Translator Shelley Frisch was chosen to receive the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize by a jury of five for her translation of Reiner Stach’s Kafka – Die Jahre der Erkenntnis (Kafka - The Years of Insight) published by Princeton University Press in 2013. The honor will be presented to her on June 16 by the Consul General of Germany in Chicago, Dr. Christian Brecht.
Reiner Stach’s biography of Franz Kafka deserves the adjective “monumental” in two senses, by virtue of its sheer length and detail, but more importantly by virtue of a lively, readable style that will make it the standard account of Kafka’s life for the foreseeable future. Following her translation of Kafka: The Decisive Years, Shelley Frisch’s completion of Kafka: The Years of Insight, covering the last decade of the writer’s too brief life, makes this marvelous biography not just available, but accessible and inviting for English-speaking readers.
Shelley Frisch taught at Columbia University while serving as Executive Editor of The Germanic Review, then chaired the Haverford/Bryn Mawr Bi-College German Department before turning to translation full-time in the 1990s. She has published widely on German literature, film, cabaret, and the political and linguistic dimensions of exile, as well as on translation; her book on origin of language theories, The Lure of the Linguistic, was published in 2004. Her many translations from the German include biographies of Nietzsche, Einstein, and Kafka, for which she was awarded a Modern Language Association Translation Prize. She has received an array of grants, prizes, fellowships, and residencies, and co-directs international translation workshops. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
The Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize is awarded each spring to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year. The translator of the winning translation will receive US-$ 10,000.00. The prize was established in 1996 and is administered by the Goethe-Institut Chicago. It is funded by the German government.
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