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Lawrence Venuti wins Global Humanities Translation Prize

EVANSTON - Northwestern University Press and the University’s Global Humanities Initiative have selected Lawrence Venuti as the winner of the second annual $5,000 Global Humanities Translation Prize for a translation-in-progress of a global literary or scholarly text. Venuti will translate Daybook 1918: Early Fragments by Catalan poet J.V. Foix.

Venuti is a prolific and award-winning translation theorist and historian, as well as a translator from Italian, French and Catalan, and has published works recognized for their excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, PEN America, the Guggenheim Foundation and the government of Italy. Daybook 1918 will be his second translation from the Catalan.

Foix was a major figure in 20th century Catalan literature and was instrumental in introducing the European avant-garde movement to Catalonia early in the century. He was also a supporter of Catalan nationalism, and saw avant-garde experimentalism as a means of developing Catalan culture.

By writing Daybook 1918, Foix emerged as one of Europe’s most influential avant-garde poets and intellectuals, although he was not as well known in English. Venuti's fluid and accessible translation from Catalan of poems, prose poems, letters, diary entries and essays is bound together with a careful scholarly apparatus of contextualization and annotation. The book is timely too, considering Catalonia’s controversial independence referendum in 2017.

The Global Humanities Initiative is supported jointly by the University's Buffett Institute for Global Studies and Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and was co-founded in 2015 by Laura Brueck, an associate professor of Indian literature in the department of Asian Languages and Cultures, and Rajeev Kinra, an associate professor in the department of History at Northwestern.

“Our goal is to bring much-needed attention not only to the rich humanistic traditions of underrepresented world cultures, but also to the relevance of those traditions for discussions and debates surrounding global development, public policy and politics generally,” Brueck and Kinra said in a statement. “It places Northwestern University at the center of a vital international conversation about the continuing role of the humanities in building a more just, tolerant and humane 21st century.”

The selection committee for this year’s prize included Brueck and Kinra as well as César Braga-Pinto, an associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese; Andrew Way Leong, an assistant professor of English; and Francesca Tataranni, the Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Professor of Instruction of Classics.

The committee also awarded honorable mentions to “Revolt Against the Sun,” the selected poetry and prose of Nazik Al-Malaika, translated and edited by Emily Drumsta and to “Manhattan Blues” by Jean Claude Charles, translated by Eliana Vagalau.

The Global Humanities Translation Prize will begin accepting submissions for the next round of competition in August 2018. For details and submission instructions, applicants may visit the Global Humanities Initiative website or email ghi@northwestern.edu.

Founded in 1893, Northwestern University Press publishes works of enduring scholarly and cultural value, extending the University’s mission to a community of readers throughout the world. The Press has an international reputation for publishing translations of both scholarly work as well as fiction, drama and poetry.

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