2019 Ottaway Award Announced

Edith Grossman photographed by
Sarah Timmer Harvey in June 2019 for an interview in Asymptote

I couldn’t be more delighted to hear that the 2019 James H. Ottaway, Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature will go to translation luminary Edith Grossman. The news was announced this morning by Words Without Borders, which presents the annual award. 2019 marks the first year the prize will go to a translator and not an editor/publisher – and what a splendid choice of a translator to honor! Edith Grossman, who is also the author of the important book Why Translation Matters, is probably best known for her widely celebrated 2003 translation of Cervantes’s Don Quixote. But she has translated many many other writers and books as well, including (not a complete list) Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Julián Ríos, Jaime Manrique, Álvaro Mutis, Carlos Fuentes, and Antonio Muñoz Molina. She has been a pathbreaker in so many ways. Among her many other awards, in 2006 she became the first woman translator to receive the prestigious Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation awarded by PEN America. She was also granted an honorary doctorate from Princeton University this June. The Ottaway Award will be formally presented at the Words Without Borders annual gala on Oct. 29, 2019. Big congratulations, Edie!

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