ASF Translation Competition for 2016 OPENS


New York, NY – The American-Scandinavian Foundation has announced the opening of its 36th annual Translation Competition for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a Scandinavian author born after 1800.  Two prizes are offered: the Nadia Christensen Prize, which includes a $2,500 award and the Leif and Inger Sjöberg Prize, which recognizes distinguished effort by an individual whose literary translations have not previously been published, and includes a $2,000 award.  Both prizes also include publication of an excerpt in Scandinavian Review (ASF’s illustrated journal) and a commemorative bronze medallion.

The winners in the 2015 competition were Philip Roughton (Reykjavík, Iceland) and Marcus Bror Cederström (Madison, Wisconsin).  Mr. Roughton received the Nadia Christensen Prize for his translation of an excerpt fromGerpla, by Icelandic author Halldór Kiljan Laxness (b. 1902.).  Mr. Cederström received the Leif and Inger Sjöberg Prize for his translation of Regn och åska by Swedish author Håkan Lindquist (b. 1958).

Regarding Mr. Roughton’s translation, the ASF Translation Prize Jury said, “With great confidence and remarkable skill the translator captures in English the majestic cadencies of Laxness’ language that evoke the bygone world of the medieval Icelandic sagas, while at same time making the text come alive for the contemporary reader.” Mr. Roughton received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2002.  He has translated 15 novels from Icelandic to English, along with numerous articles, essays, and other publications.  He received an ASF fellowship for research in Iceland in 1996-97, and was the recipient of the ASF Translation Prize in 2001 for his translation of Íslandsklukkan/Iceland’s Bell, also by Halldór Laxness.

Regarding Mr. Cederström’s translation, the Jury said, “The language of the translation is fluid and natural, and the translator captures well the many emotional layers of the original.”  Mr. Cederstrom is completing his Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies – Folklore at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he received his M.A. in Scandinavian Area Studies.  He received his B.A. from the University of Oregon in 2006.  He was the recipient of an ASF fellowship for research at Stockholm University in 2014-15.

The Nadia Christensen Prize, along with the Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award, are the only prizes regularly awarded in the U.S. for English translation of Nordic literature. For more information on the 2016 Translation Prize competition, please see the ASF’s website at The American-Scandinavian Foundation is a publicly-supported American nonprofit organization that promotes firsthand intellectual and creative exchange between the United States and the five Nordic countries.

Contact:         Carl Fritscher, Interim Director, Fellowships & Grants


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