Czech Translator Veronika ter Harmsel Havlíková Wins Dutch Letterenfonds Prize

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Veronika ter Harmsel Havlíková will collect €15,000 in Friday’s winner’s ceremony in Amsterdam.

At the awards program in Amsterdam are, from left, Barbara den Ouden of the Dutch Foundation for Literature, translator Veronika ter Harmsel Havlíková, and Tiziano Perez, managing director of the foundation. Image: Dutch Foundation for Literature, Chris van Houts

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘A Crucial Role as Adviser to New Translators’
The Czech translator Veronika ter Harmsel Havlíková on Friday (July 1) was honored as the winner of the Translation Prize of the Dutch Foundation for Literature (Nederlands Letterenfonds).

The event took place on the first evening of Amsterdam’s 23rd Literaire Vertaaldagen two-day symposium at the Rode Hoed venue (Red Hat) on Keizersgrach–”Literary Translation Days,” which has been known to attract more than 300 translators.

Ter Harmsel Havlíková receives a purse of €15,000 (US$15,783) in the foundation’s recognition of her work in translating “important Dutch titles into Czech, as well as her crucial role as adviser to new translators and as an intermediary on behalf of Dutch literature.”

Ter Harmsel Havlíková is a native of Prague, where she studied German and Dutch at Charles University.

She took her master’s degree on the first Dutch pop-art novel and went on to complete postgraduate studies in literary theory at the Palacký University in Olomouc.

‘Objevení nebe’ (‘The Discovery of Heaven’) in Veronika ter Harmsel Havlíková’s translation

After several years of work at international schools in Prague, she taught at Palacký University and at the Masaryk University in Brno. She’s currently the director of the language and training institute Dutch Language and Culture in Prague. Since 2013, she has been on the board of the Association of Literary Translators in the Czech Republic.

In 2011, ter Harmsel Havlíková received the Exceptional Creativity Prize from the Association of Translators for her translation into Czech of The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch.

For a look at the sheer breadth of  her work, see her mentions (more than 40) in the Letterenfonds’ database of translations here.

The Letterensfond’s administrators make the point that their award recognizes not only quality translation but also translators’ “efforts as ambassadors for a specific language area or genre, or for literary translation in general.

In an interesting trade-off, the award alternates between translators working into Dutch in even-numbered years and translators working from Dutch in odd-numbered years.

In Amsterdam, June 26. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Vlada Z

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 119th awards-related report produced in the 120 publication days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.


More on the Nederlands Letterensfond is here, more on translation and translators is here, and more on the Dutch publishing market is here

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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