Daniel Hahn, the award-winning writer, editor, translator, and translation advocate, will receive the 2023 Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature, Words Without Borders announced today. The award will be presented by translator and writer Esther Allen at a private ceremony on June 13 in New York City. A recording of the event will be made available on the Words Without Borders website.
“I can think of no individual who has made as big of an impact in the literary translation field in as little time as Danny Hahn,” said WWB’s board chair, Samantha Schnee. “We are thrilled to honor his heroic efforts with this year’s Ottaway Award.”
The Ottaway Award honors Daniel Hahn’s work to advance the field of literary translation. Through his participation in dozens of strategic initiatives, Hahn has made a lasting impact on the sector by offering support, training, and visibility to translators; creating incentives and opportunities for publishers; and raising awareness of literary translation. One example is the Emerging Translator Mentorship program, which Hahn established in 2010 through the UK’s National Centre for Writing and which has supported over one hundred mentees. Another is the TA First Translation Prize, which, launched by Hahn in 2017, awards a debut literary translation into English a monetary prize shared by the translator and their publisher. His most recent effort is the South Asian Literature in Translation (SALT) Project, which aims to address the underrepresentation of South Asian literature in anglophone markets.
An award-winning writer, editor, and translator with nearly one hundred titles to his name, Hahn routinely uses his platform to advocate for translators and raise public understanding of literary translation. In addition to his public speaking and translation workshops each year, Hahn’s own writing has sought to demystify the art and craft of literary translation. His recent book, Catching Fire (Charco Press, 2022), pulls back the curtain on his translation of Diamela Eltit’s Never Did the Fire, recording in real time the artistic conversation that occurs within a translation.
Hahn counts among his many accolades the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the International Dublin Literary Award, and the Blue Peter Book Award, as well as a finalist mention for the International Booker Prize. He is an active member of the UK’s literary community, serving as board member or chair of such bodies as the Translators Association, English PEN, Modern Poetry in Translation, and the Council of the Society of Authors, and as national program director of the British Centre for Literary Translation.
Named in honor of the first chair of Words Without Borders, Jim Ottaway, Jr., the Ottaway Award recognizes an individual whose work and activism have supported WWB’s mission of promoting cultural understanding through the publication and promotion of international literature. Past awardees include Naveen Kishore, Edith Grossman, Chad W. Post, Jill Schoolman, Barbara Epler, Sara Bershtel, the late Carol Brown Janeway, and Drenka Willen. Daniel Hahn is the second literary translator and first Briton to receive the Ottaway Award.
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