(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN — Recognising the importance of translators in the literary world was one of the reasons behind the establishment of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Literature Prize, which launched its call for application for the 2019 edition this week.
One of the few international literature prizes that honours both author and translator, the EBRD Literature Prize highlights "the importance of the writer in voicing the hopes, aspirations and challenges facing people across our regions", according to its website.
For Jury chair Rosie Goldsmith, an award winning journalist specialising in arts and foreign affairs, 'this prize is here to stay: it is different and it is important. In only one year, it has already broadened my mind and also my definition of the novel.'
She told The Jordan Times: 'Last year's edition has attracted a wealth of submissions with entries ranging from established writers to those who deserve to be. The standard of storytelling and of translation was excellent and our winners truly blew the public away.'
The prize, which is now in its second year, aims to "recognise the extraordinary richness and variety of cultures and history in the EBRD region — a region stretching across central and eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans, Turkey, the southern and eastern Mediterranean and northern Africa", said EBRD Head of Marketing and Campaign Communications Jane Ross.
Honouring the translated work of literary fiction originally written in any language from one of EBRD's 38 countries of operations, including Jordan, the opportunity is open to any work published by a UK publisher, with submissions being welcomed until November 1.
"Just as importantly, the Prize acknowledges the talent and key role of the translator in making the stories from these countries accessible to the English-speaking public," the EBRD website stated, noting that the first prize of 20,000 euros is equally divided between the winning author and translator.
In partnership with the British Council, the EBRD will also reward two runners-up and their translators, who will receive 1,000 euros each.
Furthermore, the three finalists and their translators will be invited to London to participate in an award ceremony and discussion at EBRD headquarters in March 2019.
'We hope that the EBRD Literature Prize will not only highlight the best of translated fiction from our region, but also encourage publishers in the English-speaking world to give more prominence to the great stories told originally in Arabic, Turkish, the plethora of Slavic and other languages of our vast region. Too little is read in translation in English,' EBRD Deputy Secretary General Colm Lincoln commented.
Voicing delight over the impact of the first EBRD Literature Prize and the excitement it generated, Goldsmith told The Jordan Times: 'We are so proud of the contribution the prize makes to the wider readership and recognition of great literature. The aim of the prize is to provide a window on the world and to celebrate storytelling and storytellers."
In its first edition, the EBRD Literature Prize celebrated the work of Turkish author Burhan Sönmez and his translator Ümit Hussein for the novel "Istanbul, Istanbul".
'We see the EBRD Literature Prize as an excellent way of putting what we do into a wider cultural context,' Ross told The Jordan Times, noting that, since its start of operations in Jordan, EBRD has undertaken nearly 40 projects and wide-ranging activities, including solar power, lending for small business, training judges and improving infrastructure.
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