The Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko, the author of “The Museum of Abandoned Secrets” and her translator, Katarzyna Kotyńska, have won the 2013 Angelus Award for Central European Literature, the 8th edition of the award, which is awarded by the City of Wroclaw to a writer from Central Europe.
“This year, we decided to award an extraordinary book in which history and the present day, reality and magic, love, treachery and death all intermingle," said Natalya Gorbanevskaya, the chair of the Angelus jury, said of the book’s selection.
Receiving her award, a visibly moved Oksana Zabuzhko confessed on the stage, “I’m at a loss for words. I understand why Hollywood stars begin to sob when they receive an Oscar. That’s exactly how I feel. I’m mixing up all the languages. I’ve the impression that thanks to the citizens of Wroclaw, Ukraine has now become part of Europe.”
The writer also thanked her translator, Katarzyna Kotyńska. “She is the co-author of my book. People often forget that without the work of a translator, they couldn’t read any books.”
“It was the translation of my life,” the translator said upon receiving her award.
“The Museum of Abandoned Secrets” by Oksana Zabuzhko translated by Katarzyna Kotyńska was published by W.A.B. The organiser and endower of the Angelus Award for Central European Writers, awarded since 2006, is the City of Wroclaw. The prize is awarded each year for the best work of prose published in Polish the year before. Prize-winners may be writers from Central Europe, from one of 21 countries: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
The prize consists of a check for 150,000 PLN and a statuette by the Wrocław sculptor Ewa Rossano. Since the fourth edition, the prize has been accompanied by an award for the translator of the winning book endowed by the Angelus Silesius State Vocational High School in Wałbrzych worth 20,000 PLN. In cases where the Angelus is given to a Polish author, the jury will select the best translator of one of the foreign books.
Previous winners of the Angelus are Miljenko Jergović, Svetlana Alexievich, Gyorgy Spiro, Josef Skvorecky, Peter Esterhazy, Martin Pollack and Yuri Andrukhovych.
photo. Tomasz Walków