Gutekunst Prize 2018 ©   Gutekunst Prize 2018

In 2010, the Goethe-Institut New York received a generous donation in memory of Frederick and Grace Gutekunst. A prize was created to identify outstanding young translators of German literature into English and assist them in establishing contact with the translation and publishing communities. As of 2017, the prize is supported by the Friends of Goethe New York.


The Gutekunst Prize of the Friends of Goethe New York is open to college students and to all translators under the age of 35 who, at the time the prize is awarded, have not yet published, nor are under contract for, a book-length translation. Applications will be accepted only from permanent residents of the United States. Team translations will not be accepted.

Each applicant is required to translate a literary text of approximately 22 pages, available on request from the Goethe-Institut New York. To receive the text and the application form, please send an email to:

The translation and application form must be mailed electronically to the Goethe-Institut New York by Friday, March 16, 2018 11:59pm EST. Full information on the submission procedure is included on the application form.

Translations will be submitted to a jury consisting of three experts in German literature and translation. The winner will be notified in early May 2018.

The winner of the Gutekunst Prize of the Friends of Goethe New York will be invited to an award ceremony to take place at the Goethe-Institut New York. The $2,500 prize will be awarded at this time and the winner will have the opportunity to present his or her translation.

The jury’s statement, the name of the winner, and the text of the winning translation will be published on the website of the Goethe-Institut New York and, following agreement with the German publisher of the work, be used as a sample translation in negotiations with US publishers, to be conducted by the Frankfurt Book Fair New York.

For further information, please contact Walter Schlect:

Please note: Applicants must be under the age of 35 on the date of the jury’s decision, May 8, 2018. By submitting work for the Gutekunst Prize of the Friends of Goethe New York, the applicant acknowledges the right of the Goethe-Institut and Frankfurt Book Fair New York to use the accepted work in its publications, on its website, and for educational and promotional purposes related to the Prize.

About the Prize

Year Recipients
2017 Amanda Olson
for her translation of a selection from Weil wir längst woanders sind by Rasha Khayat (DuMont Buchverlag, 2016)
2016 Laura Caton
for her translation of a selection from Drohnenland by Tom Hillenbrand (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2014)
2015 Sophie Duvernoy
for her translation of a selection from Eisenkinder by Sabine Rennefanz (Luchterhand, 2013)
2014 Elizabeth Lauffer
for her translation of a selection from Gib jedem seinen eigenen Tod by Veit Heinchen (Zsolnay, 2001)
2013 Alta Price
for her translation of a selection from Bugatti taucht auf by Dea Loher (Wallstein, 2012)
2012 Daniel Clausen
for his translation of a selection from Roman unserer Kindheit by Georg Klein (Rowohlt, 2010)
2011 Karí Driscoll
for his translation of a selection from Was davor geschah by Martin Mosebach (Hanser, 2010)

Frederic(k) Paul Gutekunst was born in Moberly, Missouri on July 24, 1889. His parents were George and Emilie Gutekunst, originally of Germany. Upon his graduation from Moberly High School, he attended from 1908 until 1912 Central Wesleyan College, which was a small, closely-knit German Methodist college founded in 1864 as a home for Civil War orphans and to supply a higher education institute for German Methodist youths in the area.

Upon his 1912 graduation with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in German, he accepted a faculty appointment at Central Wesleyan College as a professor of German and Stenography. By 1915, Frederick was employed as an assistant in the University of Missouri’s German Department. Despite not having a graduate degree, Frederick was considered a faculty member at the University of Missouri, and was listed as such in the 1918 yearbook. In 1917 he married Grace Zimmerman, who also had graduated from Central Wesleyan College.

In 1924, Frederick graduated at the University of Missouri – Columbia Masters of Arts program with a Masters of Arts degree in German. Frederick continued to teach at the University of Missouri for a couple of years before relocating to New York City in 1926 to enroll in Columbia University’s graduate doctoral program and started teaching German at Hunter College. Frederick, his wife and their two daughters relocated to Mt. Vernon, New York. Despite not finishing his doctoral degree, Frederick was promoted to Assistant Professor at Hunter College in 1928. He was tenured as an Assistant Professor at Hunter College for 34 years until his retirement in 1960.

Frederick Paul Gutekunst died in Mt. Vernon, New York in January 1985.

(The research on Frederick Gutekunst was done by Johanna Blakely-Bourgeois.)