Award for Dutch translation of Le sermon sur la chute de Rome

Jérôme Ferrari wins the European Literature Prize 2014

25 June 2014

On Wednesday 25 June, in the radio programme Opium op 4, Alexander Rinnooy Kan announced that the European Literature Prize 2014 has been awarded to the French author Jérôme Ferrari and translators Jan Pieter van der Sterre and Reintje Ghoos for De preek over de val van Rome (published by De Bezige Bij).

Jury member Christiaan Weijts will present the prize to Ferrari and his translators on the afternoon of Sunday 7 September 2014, during Manuscripta at the Uitfeest in Utrecht.

This is the fourth year in which the European Literature Prize has been awarded. The previous winners were Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère, translated by Katelijne de Vuyst and Katrien Vandenberghe, Alsof het voorbij is by Julian Barnes and translator Ronald Vlek, and Drie sterke vrouwen by Marie NDiaye and translator Jeanne Holierhoek. The prize is made up of €10,000 for the author and €5,000 for the translators of the winning book.

The jury on De preek over de val van Rome by Jérôme Ferrari:

‘At the heart of this novel is a bar on Corsica, where various stories come together that are all tales of ascent, blossoming and decline. Ferrari’s language is sparkling, frolicsome, bountiful, and at the same time very precise and clear. His pages-long sentences can send you off into a hallucinatory trance. The translators have succeeded inimitably in translating this linguistic performance into Dutch. They have managed to preserve the long sentences and to make the translation exude the same atmosphere as the original. They render the rich assortment of language and vocabulary with accuracy and assurance.’

Jérôme Ferrari (b. 1968) was until recently a philosophy lecturer, working on Corsica, in Algeria and in the United Arab Emirates. Le sermon sur la chute de Rome won him the 2012 Prix Goncourt. It is his sixth novel and the first to be translated into Dutch.

Jan Pieter van der Sterre and Reintje Ghoos both have been translating for more than twenty years. Reintje at first mainly translated non-fiction and Jan Pieter mainly literature (from Apollinaire to Voltaire and from Banville to Nabokov) They have been collaborating since 2009 (o.a. Amis, Foster Wallace, Robbe Grillet and De Goncourt).

The four other titles on the shortlist were:

  • De vlucht (Intemperie) by Jesús Carrasco, translated by Arie van der Wal (Meulenhoff)
  • Fuck America (Fuck America) by Edgar Hilsenrath, translated by Elly Schippers (Anthos)
  • Het Reisverbod (E pengueara)by Ismail Kadare, translated by Roel Schuyt (van Gennep)
  • Bleke Niko (Blady Niko)by Tomek Tryzna, translated by Karol Lesman (De Geus)

The jury was made up of:

  • Alexander Rinnooy Kan, chair; professor of economics and business administration at the University of Amsterdam and a fervent reader
  • Christiaan Weijts, writer and literary critic Eric Metz, lecturer in translation studies at the University of Amsterdam
  • Joost Baars, Van Rossum bookshop (Amsterdam)
  • Karien Hilbers, Eerste Bergensche bookshop (Bergen)

The longlist was chosen by fifteen quality bookshops. The jury then selected the shortlist and the winner.

The public presentation of the prize will take place during Manuscripta at the Uitfeest in Utrecht on the afternoon of Sunday 7 September. Keep an eye on our site for the precise location and time.

Maison Descartes in Amsterdam is organizing a chance to meet Jérôme Ferrari on Monday 8 September.

The European Literature Prize is an initiative of the Academic-Cultural Centre SPUI25, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer and Athenaeum Booksellers. It also receives support from the LIRA Foundation.

For further details please contact the Dutch Foundation for Literature, tel. 020-520 73 00: Roos de Ridder, secretarial department of the European Literature Prize, or Dick Broer,

The (new!) logo of the European Literature Prize can be downloaded via On the same page you will find cover images and author photos.

More information at:

Roos de Ridder


Roos de Ridder

Assessment translators

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