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International Literature Award 2014 - Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin

July 04th, 2014
International Literature Award.jpg

News from Berlin – On Thursday evening, July 3rd the International Literature Award of the House of the World’s culture was given to Dany Laferrière, a Haitian author who published his novel on living in exile. For the 6th time in a row, the award decorates both the author and the translator of the book.

The award intends to raise awareness for foreign author whose writings have been translated into the German language in order to make them accessible for German readers. The institution of the House of the World’s culture in Berlin promotes the idea that nowadays, there is no so called national literature anymore but instead only world literature which should give all readers the chance to broaden their horizons. World literature today multiplies the different perspectives one might have and intends to express a global moment of writing. Even though the access to foreign literature is today guaranteed by the translators’ significant work, translation is not an easy task. The translator sometimes has the difficulty of transcribing the author’s feelings, intentions and choices of expression to another language. In the majority of the cases, the translators have lived in the respective country for several years and have discovered this particular author to whom they suggested to translate the work in order to bring it on the German book market.

The awarded novel is called “L’énigme du retour” (Mystery of return) in French,  and the author is  already well known for his French-Caribbean literature. During a short lecture after giving him the award, the audience received a complex insight into the difficulty in living in exile and on returningg back to one’s homeland. The author explained that Haiti seems to be used to pain, due to its constant poverty. Additionally, Haiti has had to swallow the aftermath of the earthquake in2010. The novel intends to take the reader through a short but intense travel of the country.

Throughout this award, it becomes apparent that cultural diplomacy  can also be practiced in literature. People all over the world constantly produce a large amount of literature from all walks of life. In making these writings accessible to a big number of readers, literature has the chance raise awareness. Reading foreign literature makes us all more receptive to foreign cultures. This International Literature Award of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin is a great occasion for learning more about the intellectual scene in other corners of our world.


News from Berlin - Berlin Global