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. The Prize celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021!

2021 Prizewinner

Jackie Smith's translation ... brilliantly captur[es] the musicality of the original text, its philosophical depths, psychological insights, meticulous scientific observations—as well as its playful ingenuity and deeply poetic imagination.

25 Years Wolff Prize

Shelley Frisch, jury chair of the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize, reflects on the twenty-five year history of the prize, 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

Translation Award Ceremony: June 24, 1:00pm EDT

Wolff Gutekunst

This year's annual translation award ceremony in honor of the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize and the Gutekunst Prize of the Friends of Goethe New York will be streamed live on Zoom from the Goethe-Institut New York and Goethe-Institut London. We can accomodate a small audience for the ceremony 'in person' at the Goethe-Institut New York: to attend, RSVP to library-newyork@goethe.de is mandatory and proof of vaccination is requested.

Register for Zoom

Shortlist 2021

The following titles were selected for the shortlist for this year's prize!

Shortlist 2021

Submissions 2021

The following titles, all published in the USA or Canada in 2020, were submitted for consideration for this year's prize.

Submissions 2021

Past Prizewinners

How to submit?

Publishers in the USA and Canada are invited to submit six copies of a published translation from the German language into English for consideration. The translation must have been published (not only distributed) in the USA or Canada in 2020.

Guidelines for Publishers

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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