PARKERSBURG — A Belleville native has won the Nadia Christensen Prize at the Scandinavian-American Foundation’s international translation competition.
Randi Ward won the award with her translation of Faroese writer Kim Simonsen’s collection of poetry “Hvat hjalpir einum menniskja at vakna ein morgun hesumegin hetta aratusundio” (What good is it to a person to wake up one morning this side of the new millennium). The collection was originally published in the Faroe Islands by Mentunargrunnur Studentafelagsins in 2013.
The prize is awarded annually to the most outstanding translation of poetry, fiction, drama or literary prose written by a Nordic author of the 20th or 21st century.
The contest judges noted in their citation that, “In Ward’s hands, these verse diaristic snapshots, filled with visceral, yet spare natural imagery, beg to be read aloud. Lively in its choice of words and magnificent in its simplicity, his translation strikes a moving balance between musicality and austerity, decadence and fruitfulness.
Along with the award, Ward received $2,500 and a commemorative bronze medallion “For service to America and Scandinavia.” An excerpt from his translation will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal of the American-Scandinavian Foundation, “Scandinavian Review.”
In the competition’s 43-year history, Ward is the only translator to have won the prize by translating a literary work from Faroese, the official language of the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands are located north-northwest of Scotland, halfway between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic.
Ward conducted research in the self-governing archipelago, home to 53,700 people, for three years while earning his master’s degree at the University of the Faroe Islands.
Ward’s poetry, photography and translations have been featured by “World Literature Today” “Radio Folk UK” National Public Radio and “PBS News Hour.” Cornell University Library established the Randi Ward Collection in its Rare and Manuscript Collections Division in 2015.
The author of the book, Kim Simonsen, is from the village of Strendur on Eysturoy. He completed his PhD in 2012 at Roskilde University and has written seven books and numerous academic essays and articles. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of “Forlagio Eksil”, a Faroese press which published more than 20 titles.
In 2014, Simonsen won MA Jacobsen’s Viroislon, the Faroese National Book Award, for “What good is it for a person to wake up one morning this side of the new millennium.” Extracts from the collection have also been presented at the STANZA Poetry Festival in Scotland, the TRANSPOESIE Festival in Belgium and the Skopje Poetry Festival in Macedonia where it received the Best New Publication Award from the Association of Publishers and Booksellers of Macedonia.
Scandinavia House, the leading center for Nordic culture in the United States, will host a virtual reading and discussion of the award-winning poetry collection with Simonsen and Ward at 1 p.m. Saturday. Those wishing to attend can register at https://tinyurl.com/2y22pwxs or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the event.