The highlight of the 2nd International Congress of Translators of Polish Literature, of course, was the award ceremony for this year’s Trans-Atlantyk Prize, which went to the Serbian translator Biserka Rajčić. It was a lovely event, which was introduced by the Book Institute Director Grzegorz Gauden and featured a string quartet that played a stunning piece of music, the name of which I forgot to learn… Last year’s winner, Xenia Staroshyelska, did the honors. Here’s an excerpt of the description on the Book Institute website:
Over her forty-five years of translation work, Biserka Rajčić has translated and published 77 books in all spheres of the humanities (poetry, prose, essays, philosophy, theatre studies, political sciences, historiography etc.). She has translated around 330 of the most outstanding Polish artists, philosophers, and historians of all generations, including: Witkiewicz, Gombrowicz, Miłosz, Schulz, Szymborska, Herbert, Różewicz, Hartwig, Międzyrzecki, Białoszewski, Lem, Filipowicz, Herling-Grudziński, Konwicki, Mrożek, Kapuściński, Brandys, Nowakowski, Stachura, Fink, Zagajewski, Lipska, Kornhauser, Barańczak, Tokarczuk, Gretkowska, Goerke, Świetlicki, Kielar, Podsiadło, Sonnenberg, Różycki, Kołakowski, Kott, Kantor, Grotowski, Zanussi, Topolski, Łowmiański, and Michnik. Since 1962 she has published over 470 texts in magazines of every sort, devoted to authors she has translated and Polish literary-cultural life. Her bibliography includes over 1584 items. She has also published 2 books about Poland: ‘Poljska civilizacija’ and ‘Moj Krakov.’
She has received the highest Polish and Serb distinctions for her translation and promotion work, including the Serb Translators’ Union Award for lifetime achievement, the Jovan Maksimović Award for translation from the Russian, the Belgrade Radio 2 Award for her many-year (1958-2008) co-operation in the field of literature and art, the ZAIKS Award, the Polish Republic Order of Service, delivered by the President of the Polish Republic, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Diploma for outstanding service to the promotion of Poland in the world, the Zbigniew Dominiak Award for the translation of poetry, and the Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz Award for achievement in promoting Polish theatre culture in the world.
The Trans-Atlantyk Prize is the Book Institute’s annual award for the most outstanding promoter of Polish literature abroad. Its previous winners are: Henryk Bereska (2005), Anders Bodegard (2006), Albrecht Lempp (2007) and Xenia Staroshyelska (2008).