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Sebastian Barry’s German Translator Wins Major Prize
Literature Ireland, the organisation which promotes Irish literature abroad, was delighted to learn this week that the German translator Hans-Christian Oeser has received a prestigious €25,000 prize, the Straelener Übersetzerpreis der Kunststiftung NRW, for his translation of Barry’s powerful, award-winning Days Without End, which was published as Tage ohne Ende in Germany in 2018 by Steidl Verlag Göttingen.
Oeser has been a friend and active translator of Irish writing throughout his long career. He has been described in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as “Ireland’s German Voice”, having translated 34 Irish writers into German.
His editor, Claudia Glenewinkel, said: “We’re delighted that Hans-Christian Oeser has received this prize, which honours not only an exceptional translator (and dear friend), but also someone who’s facilitated the introduction of Irish literature into Germany like no other. So far Hans-Christian has translated five novels by Sebastian Barry into German for Steidl, not to mention works by Maeve Brennan, Colin Barrett, Claire Keegan, Eugene McCabe, Patrick McGinley and Caoilinn Hughes. Without the outstanding support of Literature Ireland, this would not have been possible – our heartfelt thanks to all our friends and colleagues there, who continue to accompany us on our adventure with Irish literature”.
Sinéad Mac Aodha, Director of Literature Ireland, said, “Hans-Christian Oeser has been instrumental in bringing the best of Irish literature into German throughout his long career. We congratulate Hans-Christian, the Laureate for Irish Fiction, Sebastian Barry, and the dynamic German publisher Claudia Glenewinkel on this major achievement. Over 16,000 hardback copies of this beautiful book have already been sold in German and the paperback looks set to sell very well over the coming months. A small translation grant awarded at the right time by Literature Ireland can go a long way to bring Irish literature to international readers.”
(Irish Times, 23. April 2020)