London’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas

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Risa Domb / Porjes Prize

The 2019 Prize is open for submissions. Please download the submission form below for instructions on how to enter.

Criteria: English translations eligible for the prize should have been published between January 2016 and December 2019.

There are no time restrictions on the original's eligibility.

 

About the Prize:

The triennial Risa Domb/ Porjes Hebrew-English Translation Prize is sponsored by the Porjes Trust and administered by the JBC, in association with the Society of Authors and the TLS. It was initiated in 1998 to promote recognition of the skills of Hebrew-English translators and re-named in honour of the Cambridge Professor of Hebrew Literature, Risa Domb.

The 2016 Prize

The Winner:

Rachel Tzvia Back won for her translation from Hebrew of Tuvia Ruebner’s In the Illuminated Dark . Rachel Back gave a passionate rendering of three of Ruebner's poem in the original Hebrew and in translation and critic and prize judge, Boyd Tonkin, gave an eloquent account of the judging process, emphasising the universally high quality of all the submissions, at the award ceremony on 22 February 2017 at the British Library.

The Book:

In the Illuminated Dark: Selected Poems of Tuvia Ruebner  is this first-ever bilingual edition of his work, published as he marks his 90th birthday, and giving readers in both Hebrew and English access to stunning poetry that insists on shared humanity across all border lines and divides. Rachel Tzvia Back’s graceful translations of select poems representative of Ruebner’s seven-decade poetic trajectory are ever-faithful and beautifully attuned to the Hebrew originals, even as they work to create a new music in their English incarnations. Her comprehensive introduction and annotations supply the context in which these poems were produced.

The Author: Rachel Tzvia Back is a poet, translator and professor of literature at Oranim College.

Highly Commended Translations:

The judges could not choose between Dayla Bilu's David Vogel translations and thus decided to commend both: Married Life (Toby Press) and Viennese Romance (Scribe Publictions).

The Judges: The prize judges for 2016 were Tamar Drukker, Adriana Jacobs and Boyd Tonkin. 

 

The 2013 Prize

The Winner:

Author and translator, Todd Hasak-Lowy, was the winner of the 2013 prize for his meticulous and characterful translation of Asaf Schurr’s novel, Motti. Tadd Hasak-Lowy spoke eloquently at the prize-giving ceremony on 12 February 2014 at Europe House.

The Book: 

Motti was first published in Hebrew by Babel Press in 2008 and published in English by Dalkey Archive Press in 2011. It is a novel about friendship, fantasy, existential choices and a dog named Laika.

The Author: 

Asaf Schurr, was born in Jerusalem in 1976. A multi award-winning novelist and literary critic for the Hebrew Press, Schurr is also a translator. Motti is the second of Schurr’s four novels, written in quick succession – and the first to be translated into English. It won the Prime Minister’s Prize when first published in 2008.

Highly Commended Translations:

Two other works are notable for their striking re-creations of the original Hebrew texts: Evan Fallenberg’s translation of Yair Lapid’s Memories After My Death: The Story of Joseph ‘Tommy’ Lapid (Elliot & Thompson, 2011); and Nicholas de Lange’s translation of Amos Oz’s Scenes from Village Life (Vintage Books, 2011). 

The Judges were Naomi Gryn, Yaron Peleg and Leon Yukin.

Further Prizes:

In 2010, the first Risa Domb/Porjes prize was awarded to Peter Cole for his extraordinary collection of medieval poetry: The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain 950-1492 (Princeton University Press 2007). Evan Fallenberg was runner-up for his superb translation of Beaufort (Vintage Books 2009), Ron Leshem’s award-winning novel about soldiers situated in a remote outpost in Southern Lebanon.

Prize judges were Tamar Drukker, Gabriel Josipovici and Tsila Ratner.

Nicholas de Lange was the winner of the 2007 prize for his wonderful rendition of A Tale of Love and Darkness (Chatto & Windus), Amos Oz’s celebrated memoir.

In 2004, the prize was shared between Barbara Harshav, for The Labor of Life: Selected Plays by Hanoch Levin (Stanford University Press) and Nicholas de Lange, for The Same Sea (Harcourt) by Amos Oz.

Earlier prize-winners were co-winners of the 2001 award: Peter Cole for The Poems of Ibn Gabirol (Princeton Press) and Nicholas de Lange for A.B. Yehoshua’s A Journey to the End of the Millennium (Halban); and Dalya Bilu in 1998 for A.B. Yehoshua’s Open Heart (Halban).

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Video

 
Jonathan Safran Foer discussing his novel Here I Am with Hephzibah Anderson at an out-of-festival event.