Read Russia Prize global shortlist announced

Moscow, August 2014—The Read Russia Prize’s organizational committee has announced the award’s global shortlist of 17 translators and translations of Russian literature into other languages. The competition, open to works published between 2014 and 2012, received 112 nominations from 16 countries around the world: Argentina,, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, China, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  

The Read Russia Prize was established in 2011 by the Institute of Translation in Moscow, an autonomous nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the development of the theory and practice of literary translation. The competition is conducted biennially with support from the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communication and the Boris N. Yeltsin Presidential Center. The prize is awarded to a translator (or group of translators) for outstanding translations of prose and poetry works from Russian into a foreign language and published by a foreign publisher during the previous two years.

The Read Russia Prize aims to popularize works of Russian literature; encourage foreign translators who translate Russian literature into other languages; encourage foreign publishers who publish translations of Russian literature, and strengthen and develop cultural ties between Russia and other countries.

The shortlist of 2014 nominees include two titles published in the United States:

Nineteenth-Century Classic Russian Literature:


1. Vera Bischitzky for her translation of Ivan Goncharov’s novel Oblomov (Germany);


2. Alejandro Ariel Gonzales for his translation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella The Double (Argentina); and


3. Jorge Ferrer Diaz for his translation of Alexander Herzen’s work My Past and Thoughts (Spain).


Twentieth-Century Literature (works written before 1990):


1. Alexander Nitzberg for his translation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel Master and Margarita (Austria);


2. Daniela Rizzi for her translation of Osip Mandelshtam’s prose works The Noise of Time (Italy);


3. Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov for their translation of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s collection Autobiography of a Corpse (United States);


4. Henryk Chlystowski for his translation of Mikhail Slonimsky’s book of short stories Warsaw (Poland); and


5. Elizabeth and Robert Chandler for their translation of Vasily Grossman’s book An Armenian Sketchbook (Great Britain).


Contemporary Russian Literature (works written after 1990):


1. Julie Bouvard for her translation of Eduard Kochergin’s novel Christened with Crosses (France);


2. Ives Gauthier for his translation of Andrei Rubanov’s novel A Successful Life (France);


3. Nicoletta Marcialis for her translation of Zakhar Prilepin’s novel Sin (Italy);


4. Ljubinka Milincic for her translation of Georgy Vladimov’s novel The General and His Army (Serbia);


5. Ewa Rojewska-Olejarczuk for her translation of Viktor Pelevin’s novel T (Poland); and


6. Marian Schwartz for her translation of Leonid Yuzefovich’s novel Harlequin’s Costume (United States).




1. Abderrahim Lataoui for his translation of Selected Masterpieces of Russian Poetry, by nineteenth- and twentieth-century poets (Morocco);


2. Liu Wenfei for his translation of lyrical works by Alexander Pushkin (China); and


3. Martina Jakobson for her translation of Arseny Tarkovsky’s book A Herd of Deer (Germany).


Candidates may be nominated for the Read Russia Prize by publishers, professional associations, and educational, cultural, and academic organizations, as well as individuals including the translators themselves.


Prizewinners in each category are the translator(s) and the publishing house that released the book. Winners receive 5,000 euros for the translator(s) and 3,000 euros for the publisher, in the form of a grant to cover expenses for the translation of another work of Russian literature, to be agreed upon with the Institute of Translation.


The winners of the Read Russia Prize’s second “season” will be announced at the second official award ceremony in Moscow on September 6, 2014 – a highlight of the International Congress of Literary Translators.


More than 300 people will take part in the event, including representatives of embassies of participating countries; staff members of foreign cultural centers in Moscow (Germany’s Goethe Institut, France’s Institut français, Spain’s Cervantes Instituto, Italy’s Cultural Institute, and Poland’s Institute of Culture); publishers; translators; literary agents; critics and columnists from leading print mass media; television and radio journalists; prominent Moscow writers and poets; organizers of literary awards and competitions; and representatives from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Presidential Administration of Russia, the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communication, the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Cultural Cooperation (Rossotrunichestvo).


Members of the Read Russia Prize jury are: Vsevolod Bagno, Director, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House), Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia); Grzegorz Wiśniewski, Professor, Slavist, Board Member of the Poland-Russia Society, (Poland); Vladimir Grigoriev, Chairman, Supervisory Board, Institute of Translation (Russia); Adriano del Asta, Director, Italian Cultural Institute, Moscow (Italy); Alexander Drozdov, Executive Director, Boris N. Yeltsin Presidential Center (Russia); Lu Limin, Professor, President, Chinese Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature (China); Alexander Livergant, Translator, Editor-in-Chief, Foreign Literature journal (Russia); Peter Mayer, President, The Overlook Press publishing house (United States); Georges Nivat, Literary Historian, Professor, University of Geneva (France-Switzerland); and Rafael Guzman Tirado, Vice President of the International Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature, Instructor, Department of Slavic Philology, University of Granada, Professor (Spain).


In evaluating the skill of 2012-2014’s nominees, juror Rafael Guzman Tirado made particular note of several translators’ work. In this juror’s opinion, Alejandro Ariel Gonzales, Joanne Turnbull, and Nikolai Formozov, in particular, very precisely reproduced the original texts, which is very important to faithfully conveying the philosophical ideas of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. Marian Schwartz also succeeded in preserving the genre and stylistic diversity of her original text and Schwartz “has brilliant command of techniques for translating historical detective fiction.” Ives Gauthier showed great skill in revealing “historical, cultural, and everyday realities of the Soviet and post-Soviet space that are largely unknown to the general reader in other countries.” Julie Bouvard also successfully recreatesd a Russian cultural landscape and uses reliable and comprehensive cultural references and commentaries.


Another jury member, Alexander Livergant, emphasized the academic and research character of a number of translations that are “prefaced with detailed and well-articulated commentaries as well as introductory articles.” According to Livergant, the translators are not only masters of their primary profession but also knowledgeable Slavists who have thoroughly studied the authors they work with.


Members of the Read Russia Prize’s board of trustees include well-known Russian government, cultural, and public figures: Petr Aven, Naina Yeltsina, Mikhail Piotrovskii, Vyacheslav Nikonov, Kirill Razlogov, Mikhail Seslavinskii, Natalia Solzhenitsyn, and Vladimir Spivakov.


The first award ceremony for winners of the Read Russia Prize took place in September 2012 at Pashkov House in Moscow. Translators and publishers named laureates of the inaugural Read Russia Prize are: Víctor Gallego Ballesteros, Spain, for his translation of Lev Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina, published by Alba; John Elsworth, Great Britain, for his translation of Andrei Bely’s novel Petersburg, published by Pushkin Press; Alessandro Niero, Italy, for his translation of Dmitry Prigov’s Thirty Three Texts, published by Terra Ferma; and Hélène Henry-Safier, France, for her translation of Dmitry Bykov’s Pasternak, published by Fayard.