Literature

Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize

The annual Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize is awarded each spring to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year. The translator of the winning translation will receive US $10,000. The prize was established in 1996 and was administered by the Goethe-Institut Chicago until 2014. Funded by the German government, the Prize will be administered by the Goethe-Institut New York beginning in 2015.

About Helen and Kurt Wolff

Kurt Wolff, joined later by his wife Helen, was one of the most outstanding and innovative publishers in Germany of the 1920s. Helen and Kurt Wolff immigrated to New York in 1941, and founded Pantheon Books, a publishing house devoted mainly to the translation of German and other European literature. Herman Broch, Stefan George and Robert Musil were among the authors they published. In 1961 the couple joined the firm Harcourt Brace Jovanovich where they became co-publishers with their own imprint "Helen and Kurt Wolff Books". Upon her husband's death in 1963, Helen Wolff continued to work with authors on the Wolff list, expanding it to include Karl Jaspers, Walter Benjamin, Uwe Johnson, Günter Grass, Max Frisch, Jurek Becker, Hans Joachim Schädlich, and many others.

Helen Wolff was recognized for her work with an Inter-Nationes Award, the Goethe-Medaille, and honorary doctorates from Mount Holyoke, Smith College and Dartmouth College. In 1994 she was awarded the Friedrich Gundolf Prize by the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (German Academy for Language and Literature) for her promotion of German culture in the USA, and for making German literature accessible to American readers. Helen Wolff died at the age of 87 on March 28, 1994.

    Guidelines for Publishers

    Bild MedienAmerican publishers are invited to submit six copies of a published translation from the German language into English. The deadline for submissions is set for end of January 2015.

    Please submit to:
    Goethe-Institut New York
    Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize
    Attn: Elisabeth Pyroth
    30 Irving Place
    New York, NY 10003

    The translation must have been published (not only distributed) in Canada or the US in 2014. Entries may be fiction or non-fiction and may include: novels, novellas, short stories, plays, poetry, biographies, essays and correspondences.

    A five-member jury will select the winning translation.

    The winning translator will be invited to the award ceremony in New York, to take place in June 2015.

      Book Submissions and Prize Recipients

      Bild MedienThe Wolff Translator's Prize has been awarded to a series of outstanding translators:

        2014

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        2013

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        2012

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        2011

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        2010

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        2009

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        2008

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        2007

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        2006

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        2005

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        2004

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        2003

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        2002

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        2001

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        2000

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        1999

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        1998

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        1997

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        1996

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