The Vondel Translation Prize 2013 has been awarded to David Colmer for The Misfortunates (Portobello Books), his translation of De helaasheid der dingen by Dimitri Verhulst. The award ceremony took place at Europe House in London on Wednesday 12 February 2014.
The jury - consisting of of critic Paul Binding (Times Literary Supplement) and translators Sam Garrett and Paul Vincent - praised Colmer for the way he retains the original’s bite and bawdiness, the pathos and the painful confrontation with everyman’s mortality. A quote from the jury report:
Colmer has mastered the billowing waves of Verhulst’s The Misfortunates, this roller-coaster ride of a novel that rises to heights of hilarity and then plummets to eloquent melancholy - often within one and the same paragraph. That makes his translation a triumph and one that that we, the jury, highly recommend to one and all.
The Vondel Translation Prize is awarded every two years for the best book translation into English of a Dutch literary or cultural-historical work. The prize was established by the British Society of Authors and is financed by the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Flemish Literature Fund. The winner receives the sum of €5,000.