New York, NY, May 30, 2014 – Read Russia today announced the winner of the 2014 READ RUSSIA PRIZE for the best translation of Russian literature in English published in 2013: Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s Autobiography of a Corpse, translated by Joanne Turnbull with Nikolai Formozov, published by New York Review Books. The annual literary prize carries a cash award shared by translator and publisher.
The READ RUSSIA PRIZE jury of scholars, translators, and authors praised the Turnbull translation of this “great” “powerful;” and “fantastic” writer as “imaginative, resourceful, and elegant”:
Autobiography of a Corpse, the third volume from translator Joanna Turnbull and NYRB Classics of the works of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (1887-1950), collects eleven thoughtful and macabre tales. A powerful and fantastic writer virtually unknown until he was discovered during the perestroika years, Krzhizhanovsky is now widely considered to be one of the great Russian writers of the twentieth century. Krzhizhanovsky’s tales explore the associations, links and seams between the animate and the inanimate, the physical and the abstract, the real and the fantastic, thought and the physical realization of thought. The sudden materialization of an apartment out of a slip of paper during the 1920s housing crisis in Moscow (“Autobiography of a Corpse”) is no less fantastic than the corpse’s autobiography – or the fingers of a pianist running away (“The Runaway Fingers”). “Postmark: Moscow,” which is certain to join the ranks of the Moscow stories of Bulgakov and Platonov, presents a vivid picture of the great city told in Krzhizhanovsky’s characteristically masterful and stark prose. Turnbull’s translation, with Nikolai Formozov, is imaginative, resourceful, and elegant. The English-language reader is in her debt.