Four translators have been nominated for the Vondel Translation Prize 2020. This biennial prize from the Dutch Foundation for Literature awards the best English-language translation of a Dutch-language literary or cultural-historical work with a prize of € 5,000. The award ceremony will take place on 12 February in London.
The jury, consisting of of David Colmer, Jane Draycott and Anthony Paul, nominated the following translators:
- David Doherty for Monte Carlo (Monte Carlo) by Peter Terrin (MacLehose Press)
- Antoinette Fawcett for Bird Cottage (Het vogelhuis) by Eva Meijer (Pushkin Press)
- Nancy Forest-Flier for The Story of Shit (De kleine verlossing of de lust van het ontlasten) by Midas Dekkers (Text Publishing)
- Michele Hutchison for Stage Four (Stadium IV) by Sander Kollaard (Amazon Crossing)
The jury report
David Doherty does full justice to Terrin’s meticulously crafted original, closely tracking the twists in tone and perspective without losing a beat of the book’s racing pulse, managing at the same time to maintain the novel’s elliptic poetry while taking advantage of the range and vividness of English vocabulary.
In this, her first full-length translation, Antoinette Fawcett acquits herself beautifully of the difficult task of ‘bringing a book home in translation’, combining extensive research and great sensitivity to give Eva Meijer’s English characters English voices and make the setting completely convincing in both class and era.
Nancy Forest-Flier’s translation of Midas Dekkers’s coprophilic tome is resourceful and intelligent, echoing the author’s wry tone and inimitable exuberance throughout and even rising to the challenge of the quoted rhyming poetry. She also does a great job (sorry!) of finding a seemingly endless array of synonyms and euphemisms for poo.
Michele Hutchison’s sure-footed, propulsive translation combines empathy with eloquence, drawing the reader through Sander Kollaard’s novel of love and mortality and into the world of the two main characters. Its sustained sympathy matches the original’s achievement of making a tale of an ordinary marriage both moving and gripping.
David Colmer is the translator of more than 60 works of Dutch literature. He has won numerous prizes for his translations, including the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (both with novelist Gerbrand Bakker).
Jane Draycott is an award-winning British poet and translator, who teaches creative writing at Oxford and the University of Lancaster. Her most recent volume of her own poetry is The Occupant (Carcanet, 2016).
Anthony Paul is a novelist and painter and a former lecturer in translation studies at the University of Amsterdam. Born in Wales, he studied at Oxford and moved to Amsterdam in the early seventies.