Vera Bischitzky can now personally accept the Zug Translation Fellowship 2021


Vera Bischitzky can now personally accept the Zug Translation Fellowship 2021

The winners had to wait a long time. Last Sunday, however, the time had come. The Association of Zug Translators was finally able to award the Zug Translator Grant 2021 and the Zug Recognition Award to the winners.

Award-winning translators: (from left to right) Franziska Zwerg, Vera Bischitzky, Katharina Meyer, Lena Müller and their hosts Hanspeter Uster, president of the Zug Translators Association (right) and Georg Gerber, board member.

Image: Basil Koller/PD

Club president Hanspeter Uster was able to greet a large audience in the banquet hall of Casino Zug – including prominent politicians such as city president Karl Kobelt, government adviser Martin Pfister, chairwoman of the cantonal council Esther Haas, national councilor Manuela Weichelt, but also members of the club, the jury of experts, patrons and representatives of friendly institutions.

Due to the pandemic, the awards ceremony had to be postponed for a year. The satisfaction with which Hanspeter Uster was able to present Vera Bischitzky with the translator’s grant of 50,000 Swiss francs for the translation of the novel “Obryv” by Ivan Gontscharow was palpable. Equally great was the joy with which he presented Lena Müller and Katharina Meyer with the Zug recognition prize of CHF 10,000 each for the translation of the novel “Tanz der Teufel” by Fiston Mwanza Mujila.

A master of levity

In his welcome speech, Mayor Karl Kobelt described literary translation as an independent artistic discipline that requires a wide range of skills. In her laudatory poetic speech, Franziska Zwerg, herself an experienced translator, recalled the fixed stars that Vera Bischitzky remeasured and opened to readers in a lifelong struggle.

Zwerg referred to Gogol’s “Dead Souls”, Goncharov’s “Oblomov” and Turgenev’s “Notes of a Hunter”, which Vera Bischitzky retranslated with the prodigious ease and casual elegance of the master.

vulnerability of literary interconnection

It was not surprising that the dramatic consequences of Putin’s war of aggression could be heard and felt in the party hall of Casino Zug, where the translation of a Russian classic was celebrated.

It was Yevgeny Resnichenko, director of the Institute of Literary Translation in Moscow, who congratulated Vera Bischitzky, “one of the most important ambassadors of Russian classics in world literature”, by video and thus brought a piece of another Russian critic reality to the attentive public.

Vera Bischitzky picked up this thread from Moscow in her acceptance speech. In her touching statement, the horror of Putin’s war of aggression became tangible from the professional and personal perspective of a translator who sees a lifetime commitment in tatters. The translator was shocked by the destructive force with which this war destroyed painstakingly constructed bridges – and in doing so brought the bond back to Moscow, to Yevgeny Resnichenko.

With dancing vigor

Finally, with his eulogy for Lena Müller and Katharina Meyer, board member Georg Gerber managed to balance in the completely different (textual) world of Congolese author Fiston Mwanza Mujila. A writing with its own jazzy rhythm that is dedicated to the artistic conception of the simultaneity of perspectives, places and times.

The furious book that was thus born was translated into German by the two winners with the panache of dance. Accordionists Patricia Draeger and Sergej Simbirev in their own way underlined the closeness of sadness, pain and the indestructible joy of life with their musical interludes from Eastern Europe.

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