This year the Prix des Phares du Nord has been awarded to Isabelle Rosselin for Villa avec piscine, the French translation of Herman Koch’s novel Zomerhuis met zwembad (Summer House with Swimming Pool). The jury was composed of Danielle Bourgois, translator Alain Van Crugten and literary critic Margot Dijkgraaf.
The Prix des Phares du Nord is awarded every two years to the best French translation of an important Dutch literary work. The prize is an initiative of the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Flemish Literature Fund. Holland and Flanders presented themselves as guests of honour at the 2003 Salon du Livre in Paris under the title ‘Phares du Nord’, meaning ‘lighthouses of the north’ - hence the name of this award. The prize - consisting of € 5.000 - was first presented to Philippe Noble in 2005, followed by Annie Kroon (2007), Anita Concas (2009), Bertrand Abraham (2011) and Alain Van Crugten (2013).
Villa avec piscine was published in 2013 by Belfond in Paris with financial support of the Foundation. The jury praised Rosselin’s translation for capturing the subdued irony of the original and for maintaining the tone and technical choices of the author in a superb way. With utmost respect for the rhythm of the original, the short Dutch sentences have sometimes been merged together to create a ‘French’ form. Spoken language has also been translated excellent, creating a fluid and natural text that mirrors its original in every aspect in an exemplary way.
Isabelle Rosselin has translated Dutch and English literature into French since 1989. Among the Dutch-speaking authors she has translated are Anna Enquist, Stefan Hertmans, Lieve Joris, Otto de Kat and David Van Reybrouck and, with collaboration of Philippe Noble, Arnon Grunberg, Etty Hillesum and Harry Mulisch. Her translation of Congo by David Van Reybrouck which was published under the same title by Actes Sud was awarded the Prix Médicis essai in 2012.
The Prix des Phares du Nord will be presented on 26 February 2016 in the Atelier Néerlandais in Paris, France.
More information on:
French press release:
- Bulletin de presse, (pdf)