Shortlist announced for the Medal for Excellence in Translation

AAH News Academy, Media release

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2018 Medal for Excellence in Translation, a major national award that recognises outstanding achievement in translation and the vital role of translators in Australian culture and scholarly discourse.

The shortlisted candidates are:

  • David Holm for Hanvueng: The Goose King and the Ancestral King, An Epic from Guangxi in Southern China (Brill, 2015)
  • Julie Rose for Simon Leys: Navigator Between Worlds by Philippe Paquet (La Trobe University Press/Black Inc. Books, 2017)
  • Geoff Wilkes for The Greater Hope by Ilse Aichinger (Königshausen and Neumann, 2016)

Left to right: David Holm, Julie Rose and Geoff Wilkes. Images courtesy of author.

David Holm’s translation of Hanvueng: The Goose King and the Ancestral King, An Epic from Guangxi in Southern China is a narrative in verse about murderous enmity between two royal step-brothers. An annotated edition of a ritual manuscript written in the traditional Zhuang character script, this narrative would have been recited by ritual specialists in situations of family conflict, an inauspicious death, or during the ritual cleansing of a village. The book includes the Zhuang language text, ethnographic and textual notes, the character text based on the Chinese script, and an English translation.

Simon Leys: Navigator Between Worlds is a translation by Julie Rose of Philippe Paquet’s biography of the late Belgium-born writer, essayist, literary critic and sinologist Pierre Ryckmans (pen-name Simon Leys). Ryckmans is best known as one of the twentieth century’s great writers on China. He became internationally famous (and controversial) for his trilogy of books in which he denounced the Cultural Revolution and the idolization of Mao in the West. This biography draws on extensive correspondence with Ryckmans, as well as his unpublished writings. It is translated into English from the original French.

The Greater Hope is a translation by Geoff Wilkes of Ilse Aichinger’s 1948 novel recounting her experience of anti-Semitism as young woman in Nazi Austria. The novel captures the horror and the humanity of that experience, but transcends it to offer a profound meditation on a greater hope, the metaphysical perspectives of which surpass the physical trajectories of devastation, deportation and death. It is translated into English from the original German.

The applications were assessed by an Expert Panel of internationally recognised leaders in the field of translation. This year’s panel was comprised of Professor Brian Nelson FAHA (Chair), Professor Emerita Bonnie McDougall FAHA and Mr Peter Boyle.

The winner of the 2018 Medal for Excellence in Translation will be announced in mid October and the winner will be presented with their Medal at the Academy’s annual Fellows’ Dinner on 16 November 2018.

The Academy is grateful for support for the Medal from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and three Australian universities – Monash University, The University of Melbourne, and The University of Western Australia – each with a particular interest in translation.