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Vondel Translation Prize to David McKay

The Vondel Translation Prize goes to David McKay for War and Turpentine, his English translation of 'Oorlog en terpentijn' by Stefan Hertmans. The prize, worth € 5,000, will be presented in London on 1 March 2018.

The jury was made up of the British poet and critic Jane Draycott and the British literary translators Donald Gardner and Laura Watkinson. They praise the meticulous and sensitive way in which David McKay has transposed into English this eloquent and urgent novel about the First World War. ‘As a result of McKay’s beautiful translation, this Flemish author reaches the larger readership he deserves.’ With the financial support of Flanders Literature,War and Turpentine’ was published in 2016 by Harvill Secker in the UK, by Pantheon Books in the USA and by Text in Australia.

David Doherty receives an honourable mention for his translations of ‘De Nederlandse maagd’ (‘The Dutch Maiden’) by Marente de Moor and ‘Birk’ (‘You Have Me to Love’) by Jaap Robben, both published by World Editions.

As a result of McKay’s beautiful translation, this Flemish author reaches the larger readership he deserves.
Jury report

David McKay was born in the United States and has lived in The Hague since 1997. As well as literature, he translates non-fiction, especially in the field of the visual arts, and academic work. Together with translator Ina Rilke he recently put the finishing touches to an English translation of ‘Max Havelaar or the coffee auctions of the Dutch trading company’ by Multatuli, which will be published in 2018 by NYRB Classics in New York. He is now working on a translation of the novel De bekeerlinge (‘The Convert’) by Stefan Hertmans.

The Vondel Translation Prize is a two-yearly award for the best book translation in English of a Dutch-language work of literature or cultural history. The prize was established in 1996 by the Society of Authors in Britain and is financed by Flanders Literature and the Dutch Foundation for Literature. The prize is worth € 5,000.

Previous winners of the prize include Laura Watkinson (‘The Letter for the King’, Tonke Dragt), poet and literary translator Donald Gardner (‘In Those Days’, poems by Remco Campert), David Colmer (‘The Misfortunates’, Dimitri Verhulst) and Paul Vincent (‘My Little War’, Louis Paul Boon).

Nov 15th, 2017