2015 Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize to Catherine Schelbert

CatherineSchelbert_portrait245It’s raining translation prizes this morning. The Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize (named for the legendary publishing couple) has just been awarded to Catherine Schelbert for her translation of Hugo Ball’s Flametti: oder vom Dandysmus der Armen (Flametti, or The Dandyism of the Poor) published by Wakefield Press in 2014. This $10,000 prize is the highest honor bestowed up on translator from German. The award will be presented to Schelbert next month by the Consul General of Germany in New York.

The jury noted:

On every page, Catherine Schelbert has rendered Ball’s slangy, offbeat German into equally exuberant English. Her translation was far and away our first choice and makes this Dada classic at long last available to an English-speaking readership.

I’m also glad to see a book by Hugo Ball receive the attention that will come with the prize. The under-sung inventor of the Dada movement who regularly slapped the faces of the Zurich bourgeoisie with his revolutionary sound poems from the stage of the Cabaret Voltaire (long defunct, alas) definitely deserves to be better known.

Congratulations to Schelbert for this honor! More information about her and the prize here.

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