PEN Translation Committee Member Burton Pike has been selected for the 2012 Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize, an annual prize awarded by the Goethe-Institut Chicago for an outstanding translation from the German. The prize, which has been around since 1996, comes with a hefty purse ($10,000) and a one-month residency at the beautiful Literarisches Colloquium Berlin. Pike is being honored for his translation of Gerhard Meier’s Toteninsel (Isle of the Dead), a classic of late-twentieth-century Swiss literature.
I carried all I had, but it wasn’t mine. Everything either came from someone else or wasn’t what it was supposed to be. A gramophone box served as a pigskin suitcase. The light overcoat came from my father. The fancy coat with the velvet collar from my grandfather. The knickers from Uncle Edwin. The leather gaiters came from our neighbor Herr Carp, the green woolen gloves from Aunt Fini. Only the burgundy silk scarf and the toilet kit belonged to me, presents from the previous Christmas.
From left: Erwin Piscator, Bessie Beatty, Ernst Toller, and Mr. and Mrs. Sholem Asch
From PEN’s archives, a timeline of PEN’s activities in the 1930s.
Here is one juicy nugget:
Separation of German PEN from PEN International In accordance with the Belgian and French resolution passed at the PEN Congress in May and German PEN’s refusal end its current policy of exclusion, the International Executive Committee determines that German PEN is “incompatible with the general constitution of PEN” and votes to expel the center. Dr von Schnidt-Pauli (president of German PEN and a strong believer in “scientific anti-Semitism”) declares that there is no further possibility for international collaboration between the centers.
The staged reading of Chirping Hill, directed by Jeremy Bloom and sponsored by Soho Rep and the Austrian Cultural Forum, will be presented at 7:00 p.m. at the Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building on East 3rd Street. For more information on this and the other plays included in the festival, consult the Zeitgeist tumblr page.
via Susan Bernosfky, chair of the PEN Translation Committee
I spent many summers of my youth in the Black Forest of Germany. My parents, who were both born in Berlin and had fled to the Netherlands from the Nazis, had a weak spot for the German hills.
In the seventies, most of my friends in Amsterdam went on vacation to Italy, France, Spain or even further away. Germany was not a cool destination, so I always returned from my summer vacations with a sense of shame.
Now I’m back in the Black Forest for a literary festival in a small city—actually more of a village—named Hausach.