Helen & Kurt Wolff
Translator's Prize

Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize

Established in 1996 and funded by the German government, the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize is awarded each year to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year. The prizewinning translator receives $10,000. 


We regret to announce that the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize is closed for submissions until further notice, and no prize will be awarded in 2023. Unprecedented budget cuts due to the war in Ukraine, high inflation and the precipitous drop in the value of the euro have compounded the difficulties in funding a prize of this magnitude. For 26 years, the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize has been the United States’ preeminent prize awarded for the translation of German literature into English. We continue to look for alternate sources of funding, so please check back in autumn of 2023 for updates.

Past Prizewinners

Vincent Kling © Vincent Kling

Vincent Kling

Jackie Smith © Patrick Bennett

Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith received the 2021 Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for her translation of Judith Schalansky's An Inventory of Losses.

Publisher: New Directions, 2020

25 Years Wolff Prize

Shelley Frisch, jury chair of the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize, reflects on the 25 year history of the prize in 2021, its significance to literature in translation, and its role in honoring the Wolff family’s extraordinary legacy in publishing.

Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize

Alexander Wolff, grandson of Kurt Wolff and author of Endpapers: A Family Story of Books, War, Escape, and Home, elucidates his grandfather's perennial undertaking to establish himself as a publisher on both sides of the Atlantic.

Kurt Wolff, 1887-1963

About Helen & 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.

About Helen & Kurt Wolff


Dean Whiteside
Translation Grant Program Liaison

Goethe-Institut New York
30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

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