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Best Translators of Russian Literature Rewarded at Ceremony in New York

Oliver Ready named best translator for contemporary Russian literature for his translation of Before and During by Vladimir Sharov

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This article originally appeared at Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Translated by Russia Beyond the Headlines


Oliver Ready wins Read Russia English Translation Prize 2015 for translation of Vladimir Sharov.

<figcaption>Read Russia Prize 2015 awards ceremony presidented by Gary Saul Morson | Source: Press photo</figcaption>
Read Russia Prize 2015 awards ceremony presidented by Gary Saul Morson | Source: Press photo

The laureates of the biggest translation prize for the best translation of classical and contemporary Russian literature, the Read Russia English Translation Prize 2015, have been announced in New York.

At an official awards ceremony on May 29 in one of the oldest and most respectable book clubs in America – the 130 year old Grolier Club – Oliver Ready was named as the best translator for contemporary Russian literature for his translation of Before and During by Vladimir Sharov, published by Dedalus Books.

Before and During was published in Russia in 1993 and is an action-packed historical mystery. The jury of the Read Russia English Translation Prize includes internationally recognized scholars, writers and translators (Richard Lourie, Ronald Meyer and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor) made a unanimous decision: “The translation must be superior, but not perfect."

“If achieving the perfect is impossible then the superior is achievable. And that is exactly what Oliver Ready has done in translating the essence of Vladimir Sharov’s novel in English. Ready has been able to catch the convoluted ideas of the narrator, which combine his love for Christ and Lenin, who simultaneously prays for the sinful Ivan the Terrible, and attempts to come to terms with the Bolshevik legacy."

The jury members took note of the resounding success of two translations of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina which were done last year by renowned translators Marian Schwartz and Rosamund Bartlett, published by Yale University Press and Oxford University Press. They received the special Hero of Literary Translation prize.

According to the jury’s decision, Vladimir Sharov’s book Before and During, which was translated by Oliver Ready, will be published as part of the Russkaya Biblioteka (Russian Library) series. Russkaya Biblioteka was started in 2014 and consists of 100 works of Russian literary prose, drama and poetry, published using the best English translations. 

The uniqueness of the series is that it has published both academic translations of masterpieces of Russian literature and also new translations of classical and contemporary literature that is comparatively unknown to foreign readers.

Russkaya Biblioteka is the first specialized publishing program by the Federal Press and Mass Media Agency promoting Russia’s literary achievements and the cultural heritage preserved in Russian literature.

Read Russia, founded in 2012 by Peter Kaufman, is an initiative based in Moscow, New York, and London that celebrates Russian literature and culture. Read Russia gives international audiences fresh opportunities to engage – in person, on screen, and online – with Russia’s literary leaders and heritage. The Read Russia English Translation Prize was founded with the support of the Boris Yeltsin Institute, the Translation Institute and the Federal Press and Mass Media as part of the Read Russia program.


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