The jury for the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize is pleased to award the prize for 2010 to Ross Benjamin for his translation of Michael Maar's Speak, Nabokov, published by Verso Books. The jury finds that this remarkably musical translation reads beautifully, and brings to English-speaking readers an important study of a writer of world stature whose works cry out for skilled exegesis. Benjamin's translation is elegant, witty, even playful, doing justice to both the German original and the book's subject. The translator reveals a sophisticated understanding of literary criticism and his own sure sense of literary style.
Members of the jury were: Annie Wedekind (Brooklyn, NY), Helmut Frielinghaus (Hamburg, Germany) David Dollenmayer (Hopkinton, MA), Michael Ritterson (Gettysburg, PA), and Committee Chair, Krishna Winston (Middletown, CT).
Ross M. Benjamin's work has appeared in The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, The Nation, and other publications. His translations include Friedrich Hölderlin's Hyperion (Archipelago Books, 2008), Kevin Vennemann's Close to Jedenew (Melville House, 2008), Joseph Roth's Job (Archipelago, forthcoming, 2010) and Thomas Pletzinger's Funeral for a Dog (W.W. Norton & Company, forthcoming, 2011). He was a 2003–2004 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin. He is currently at work on a novel about the Harlem Renaissance.
Recorded Monday, June 21, 2010 at Chicago Cultural Center.