By Dennis Abrams
The nonprofit online magazine Words Without Borders has announced the creation of the James H. Ottaway, Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature.
This is an award with a difference: The Ottaway will not honor a translated work or body of work, but will instead honor individuals who have succeeded in furthering literature in translation in the United States. Nominees will be solicited from a large community of authors, translators, publishers, agents, and activists, while the final honoree will be chosen by a select jury.
The award has been named in honor of Words Without Borders’ first chair and current Chair Emeritus, James H. Ottaway, in recognition of his leadership role during the organization’s formative years. It will be first presented at WWB’s 10th anniversary dinner in October of this year, and in years following at their annual benefit dinner, “to an individual whose work and activism have supported the mission of Words Without Borders, of promoting cultural understanding through the publication and promotion of international literature.”
In a statement, Words Without Borders said, “With this award, we are recognizing Jim’s critical support during the formative years of WWB. It is no exaggeration to say that without his leadership and dedication, WWB would not be what it is today. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary this year, we also celebrate Jim’s commitment, which has been a boon to WWB and serves as an inspiration to the publishing and philanthropic communities as well.”
Founded in 2003, Words without Borders is nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of global understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of international literature. To date WWB has translated over 1,600 pieces of literature and poetry representing 92 languages by writers from 119 countries. Their most recent print anthology is Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East (W.W. Norton & Co., 2010).