Rossica Prize Goes to John Elsworth

Yesterday, Academic Rossica announced that the winner of the 2012 Rossica Translators Award is John Elsworth for his translation of Andrei Bely’s Petersburg.

I was really pulling for Helen Anderson and Konstantin Gurevich and their new translation of The Golden Calf, in part because it’s one of our books (and my dream for 2012 is to win some sort of award, either personally or for the press), but also because they did a damn fine job on this retranslation and deserve massive amounts of praise.

James Rann, who is himself a translator of Russian poetry, made the announcement. Although I suspect that for the above linked article, they translated James’s speech from Russian or something—it’s a bit too stilted and repetitive. (This article is very confusing in that the below quote may actually be from Russian Ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovneko—the article doesn’t really make this clear.)

The translations were flawless. They were devoid of mistakes and preserved the spirit of the original. John Elsworth, who used to be a professor at the University of Manchester, translated the novel Petersburg by Andrei Bely for the Pushkin Press publishers. John Elsworth is an expert in Bely’s works. This translation is the result of years of literary work. Margaret Winchell translated The Cathedral Clergy by Nikolai Leskov. She works at the University of Illinois. Margaret decided to do the translation of The Cathedral Clergy after she attended a course of lectures on translation at University and met a Leskov expert there. Hugh Aplin translated The Village by Ivan Bunin. Hugh teaches Russian at Westminster College in London. He does a lot of translations. This year’s long list includes several of his other works. Robert Chandler translated The Road by Vasily Grossman. Chandler is a big name among English translators of Russian texts. He is particularly famous for his translations of Vasily Grossman. Last year the BBC launched a radio series on the basis of Grossman’s Life and Fate translated by Robert Chandler. Konstantin Gurevich and Helen Anderson who work at the University of Rochester Library in the US translated The Little Golden Calf by Ilf and Petrov.”

Congrats to John Elsworth and to all the finalists!

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