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Hueston awarded 2020 Medal for Excellence in Translation

Text Publishing director and a senior editor Penny Hueston is the winner of the 2020 Australian Academy of the Humanities Medal for Excellence in Translation for Being Here: The life of Paula Modersohn-Becker by Marie Darrieussecq (Text), a biography of the German expressionist painter.

‘The text contains a range of styles and sources, vividly condensing and re-imagining Modersohn-Becker’s life from written material (letters, diaries, poems, public records) as well as the paintings themselves,’ said the judges. ‘The challenges facing the translator of the text are considerable: the need to recreate the spare, stream-of-consciousness style, to move adroitly between tonal registers and changes of voice. These challenges are handled with rigour, subtlety and assurance by Hueston.’

Hueston said Darrieussecq is ‘one of the most significant contemporary French writers and I am privileged to be her translator’. ‘She not only challenges narrative forms, but tackles major subjects.’

‘This award is an excellent initiative … and I hope it helps to encourage all Australian translators, without whom many marvellous works would not be available to us,’ said Hueston.

Also shortlisted for the 2020 prize were Paul Gibbard for his translation of The Dream by Émile Zola (Oxford University Press) and Omid Tofighian for his translation of No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani (Picador).

The medal is awarded biennially for a book-length translation into English and ‘recognises outstanding achievement in translation and the vital role of translators and translation in Australian culture and scholarly discourse’. The winner of the 2018 medal was Julie Rose for her translation of Simon Leys: Navigator between worlds by Philippe Paquet (La Trobe University Press).

For more information see the Australian Academy of the Humanities website.


Category: Awards Local news