Icelandic Literature Center Announces 2013 Translation Grants - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Literature Center Announces 2013 Translation Grants

Published November 13, 2013

Larissa Kyzer

The Icelandic Literature Center has announced its 2013 Translation Grants, which will support translations of Icelandic literature into 27 foreign languages, published in 29 countries around the world. 79 grants were allocated this year, out of 89 total submissions.
Among this year’s grantees are many well-known Icelandic novels and authors which will shortly find new audiences around the world. Arnaldur Indriðason’s “Mýrin” (published as ‘Jar City’ in the US), is being newly translated into Armenian and Macedonian. Einar Már Guðmundsson’s “Englar alheimsins,” (‘Angels of the Universe’) will be translated into Albanian, his novel “Fótspor á himnum,” (‘Footprint in Heaven’) will be translated into Arabic (published in Egypt), and his most recent novel “Íslenskir kóngar,” (‘Kings of Iceland’) will be translated into Danish. Sjón’s “Skugga-Baldur,” (translated in English as ‘The Blue Fox’) will be published in Macedonia and China, while “Rökkurbýsnir,” (‘The Mouth of the Whale’) is being translated into Portuguese for publication in Brazil, and a book of the author’s poetry will now be available in Swedish. Not to be forgotten, several works by nobel prize winner Halldór Laxness—‘Paradise Reclaimed,’ ‘Iceland’s Bell,’ and ‘The Fish Can Sing,’—will be published in Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Greece, respectively.
Five English translations received grants, four of which will be published in the UK: The ‘Sorrow of the Angels’ by Jón Kalman Stéfansson (translated by Philip Roughton), ‘Butterflies in November’ by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (translated by Brian FitzGibbon), Inside Voices, Outside Light, a poetry collection by Sigurður Pálsson (translated by Martin Regal), and “Góði Elskhuginn” (‘The Good Lover’) by Steinunn Sigurðadóttir (translated by Victoria Cribb). In the US, literature-in-translation publisher Open Letter received a grant for “Síðustu dagar móður minnar” (‘My Mother’s Last Day’) by Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson, which will be translated by Helga Soffía Einarsdóttir.
The Icelandic Literature Center was formed last year, when two of Iceland’s leading literary institutions, The Icelandic Literature Fund and Fabulous Iceland, were combined. The Center offers grants which assist in the translation and publication of foreign works in Iceland, as well as a variety of grants which support the translation and promotion of Icelandic literature abroad: travel grants for Icelandic authors, foreign publishers, theater troupes, and literary festivals promoting Icelandic work abroad; writer’s residency grants for foreign translators to come and live in Iceland for two to four weeks while working on their translations; and the Translation Grants, which are allocated directly to foreign publishers who have already contracted with a translator to publish an Icelandic work. Most translations are directly from the Icelandic, although the Center’s Head of Literature and Promotions, Þorgerður Agla Magnúsdóttir, says that some grants are given for “translations via „bridge“ languages, as we still do not have translators for all the language areas interested in publishing Icelandic books.”

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