Lectures & Literary past

Nordic Literature in Translation: What good does it do for a person to wake up one morning this side of the new millennium Virtual Book Talk with Randi Ward & Kim Simonsen

Sat—2-26-2022
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SAT—February 26—1 PM ET
*Virtual Event*

On February 26, join us for a Nordic Literature in Translation event with this year’s American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prizewinner, Randi Ward, and the author of the work in translation, Kim Simonsen! Now in its 43rd year, ASF’s Annual Translation Competition awards prizes for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a 20th- or 21st-century Nordic author. In 2021, the Nadia Christensen Prize was awarded to Randi Ward for her translation excerpt from Faroese of Kim Simonsen’s 2013 poetry collection Hvat hjálpir einum menniskja at vakna ein morgun hesumegin hetta áratúsundið (What good does it do for a person to wake up one morning this side of the new millennium). The Nadia Christensen Prize recognizes an outstanding translation of a literary text from a Nordic language into the English.

Originally published in the Faroe Islands by Mentunargrunnur Studentafelagsins in 2013, Hvat hjálpir einum menniskja at vakna ein morgun hesumegin hetta áratúsundið received M.A. Jacobsen’s Virðisløn, the national book award of the Faroe Islands the following year. Its title posits the existential crisis that is underway while the cover imagery lays bare the philosophical underpinnings of the collection: as a species among species, all comprised of the matter of the universe, how has our anthropocentric pursuit of knowledge — and our compulsion to hierarchically categorize everything around and within us — estranged us from ourselves, each other, and the rest of this world?

What good does it do for a person to wake up one morning this side of the new millennium is forthcoming in Danish translation and was released in Macedonian translation by PNV Publishing in 2021. Excerpts from this collection have been featured at the STANZA Poetry Festival in Scotland, the TRANSPOESIE Festival in Belgium, and the Skopje Poetry Festival in Macedonia, where it received an award for best new release from The Association of Publishers and Booksellers of Macedonia (ZIKM). In today’s event, Ward and Simonsen will discuss its writing and its translation.

This event will take place as a Zoom webinar; please ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to  info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on our Virtual Programming page and on our YouTube channel.

This program will be followed by a second Nordic Literature in Translation program with ASF Translation Prizewinner Hunter Simpson and author Stine Pilgaard on March 5. Lead more and register here.

About the Author & Translator

Randi Ward is a poet, translator, lyricist, and photographer from Belleville, West Virginia. She earned her MA in Cultural Studies from the University of the Faroe Islands and has twice won the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s Nadia Christensen Prize. Her work has appeared in AsymptoteBeloit Poetry JournalWords Without BordersWorld Literature Today and also been featured on Folk Radio UK, NPR, and PBS NewsHour. Ward’s translations, writing, and photography are used in high school and university classrooms throughout the United States and abroad. She is a recipient of Shepherd University’s Appalachian Photography Award, and Cornell University Library established the Randi Ward Collection in its Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in 2015. For more information, visit randiward.com.

Kim Simonsen is a Faroese writer from the village of Strendur on Eysturoy. He completed his PhD in 2012 at the University of Roskilde and has authored seven books as well as numerous essays and academic articles. He is the founder and managing editor of Forlagið Eksil, a Faroese press that has published over 20 titles. In 2014, Simonsen won the M.A. Jacobsen Literature Award for his poetry collection Hvat hjálpir einum menniskja at vakna ein morgun hesumegin hetta áratúsundið (What good does it do for a person to wake up one morning this side of the new millennium, 2013). Simonsen has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University and Stanford University, an associate professor at The University of Bergen, and is now a member of The University of Amsterdam’s faculty. He also currently teaches creative writing courses at The University of the Faroe Islands and recently curated the Faroese art and literary festival, Always Coming Home.

 
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