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Prix des Phares du Nord awarded to translator Mireille Cohendy

The Prix des Phares du Nord has this year been awarded to Mireille Cohendy for 'Une heure avant minuit', her French translation of Ida Simons’ novel 'Een dwaze maagd' ('A Foolish Virgin'). The jury consisted of Danielle Bourgois, Margot Dijkgraaf and Isabelle Rosselin. The prize, which includes a monetary sum of 5,000 euros, will be awarded on 16 March 2018 during the Livre Paris book fair in Paris. Previous recipients of the prize have been Philippe Noble (2005), Annie Kroon (2007), Anita Concas (2009), Bertrand Abraham (2011), Alain Van Crugten (2013) and Isabelle Rosselin (2015).

Photo © Linda Bais

So fluent it does not feel like a translation

The Prix des Phares du Nord is awarded once every two years in recognition of the best French translation of an important Dutch-language literary work. 'Une heure avant minuit' was published in 2016 by Parisian publishing house Belfond, with financial support from the Dutch Foundation for Literature. The jury was impressed by the measured creativity of Cohendy’s translation, which was incredibly true to the source material and reflected the full range of registers the novel was originally written in. Every character retains his or her own distinctive voice. The translation also distinguishes itself with its vivid imagination, beautiful, lively revelations, and elegant flourishes. All of this makes the whole flow so well that not a single reader would ever imagine that what they were holding in their hands was a translation.

‘Les Phares du Nord’: a joint Dutch/Flemish campaign

The Prix des Phares du Nord was set up by Flanders Literature and the Dutch Foundation for Literature. Under the name ‘Les Phares du Nord’ (literally ‘The Lighthouses of the North’), Flanders and the Netherlands appeared as guests of honour at the 2003 Salon du Livre (now ‘Livre Paris’) in Paris. In 2018, the two literature funds will once again show themselves together under the same name as they present a selection of Dutch-language literature on a tour of literary festivals in France, where they will be joined by dozens of Flemish and Dutch authors.

Jan 17th, 2018