New Directions Publisher Barbara Epler Honored by Friedrich Ulfers Prize

In News by Dennis Abrams

Cited for being ‘at the forefront of reclaiming a space for German letters’ in the United States, Epler is to receive the award next month at Festival Neue Literatur.

Image – iStockphoto: Brian A. Jackson

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

‘Genuinely Global Passion’

As reported by Bö, Barbara Epler is to be awarded the Friedrich Ulfers Prize at the opening ceremony of the Festival Neue Literatur in New York on March 2.

The award, with a purse of $5,000, is presented annually by Deutsches Haus, German House, at New York University to “a publisher, writer, critic, translator or scholar who has championed the advancement of German-language literature in the United States.”

Epler is president and publisher of New Directions Publishing Company, which strives to make contemporary international authors available to American readers. Epler has long been recognized as a passionate advocate for translated literature, publishing works by such authors as W.G. Sebald, Roberto Bolaño, László Krasznahorkai, Robert Walser, Yoko Tawada, and Jenny Erpenbeck.

Epler is quoted, saying:

Barbara Epler

“It’s great to work on such wonderful books.

“In my long-term work, I’ve had no better time for translation than in the last few years, but there are fantastic small publishers who publish translated books—and at the same time, the big houses are publishing more books from the worldwide market.

“The whole world—and we—need all the good books we can find.

“Art and truth triumph over hatred and lies.”

In its notice about the award, Shelf Awareness cites a quote from Friedrich Ulfers in which he says, “Ms. Epler is part of a group of publishers at the forefront of reclaiming a space for German letters in this country after the catastrophes inflicted by Germany on the world during the years 1933-1945. For accomplishing this with a genuinely global passion, I am honored to recognize her as the recipient of the Friedrich Ulfers Prize.”

Susan Bernofsky, author and translator in the writing program at the Columbia University School of the Arts, is to speak in Epler’s honor.

The theme of this year’s Festival Neue is “Queer as Volk,” with a focus on German-language LGBTQ literature.

The festival is a collaborative project of German-language cultural institutions including the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Consul General of Switzerland, the Consul General of Germany, Deutsches Haus, German Book Office, Goethe-Institut New York and Pro Helvetia.

Read the full story from here, and the full story at Shelf Awareness here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.