Applications for the ACFNY Translation Prize 2020 are now open until October 31, 2020. The $4,000 Prize will be awarded for an outstanding translation of contemporary Austrian literature (prose) into English.

Selected texts from a living Austrian author have to be published in the original German after 1989. Poetry or drama texts will not be considered. No published translation of the selected text into English must exist. There must not be any contractual relation between the translator and a publisher regarding the submitted text. The published original text must not exceed 100,000 words. To be considered an Austrian author either Austrian citizenship or permanent residence in Austria for the past 3 years is required.

The successful candidate will be informed by the end of November 2020 after which date they will be invited to work on a full translation which is expected to be finished by mid-2021. The $4,000 USD ACFNY Translation Prize will constitute full payment for a translation of a book whose original text is up to 50,000 words. Books longer than 50,000 words will receive an additional support from the publisher as follows: titles up to 70,000 words will receive another $1,500 in payment, and those between 70,000 and 100,000 words will receive up to another $3,000. The complete translation of the winning text is scheduled to be published by New Vessel Press in 2022.

The jury will consider the style, rhythm, and readability of the translation as well as the impact of the original and translated text and its potential relevance and attractiveness for Anglo-Saxon readers.

Applications should include a cover letter, bio, records illustrating the translator´s previous work as well as a sample translation (10 pages/ approx. 4,000 words) and the text of the German-language original. They should be submitted to by 31 October 2020. Late submissions will not be considered.

There is no limitation as to the translator’s country of origin/nationality.



An independent jury will select a winner from among qualified applications. The 2020 ACFNY Translation Prize Jury members are publisher Michael Z. Wise (New York City), literary critic Michael Orthofer (New York City), journalist Juliane Fischer (Vienna), and Professor of German Studies Gundolf Graml (Agnes Scott College; Decatur; Georgia).

Juliane Fischer works as a freelance journalist in Austria. She writes for the arts section in the daily paper Salzburger Nachrichten, book reviews in the weekly paper Falter and for the pop culture magazin The Gap among others. Fischer studied Comparative Literature as well as Austrian Studies in Vienna, Salzburg and Umeå (Sweden).

Gundolf Graml is Professor of German Studies and Associate Dean for Curriculum and Strategic Initiatives at Agnes Scott College. Graml teaches courses on German and Austrian literature, cinema, and cultural history, and culture. He has published widely on the role of tourism in German and Austrian national identity formation. Graml won the 2013 Max Kade Prize for best article in the Journal for Austrian Studies and his peer-reviewed research has also been published in journals such as Colloquia Germanica, Monatshefte, Women in German Yearbook, Tourism Studies, Comparativ: Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte, among others. His most recent publications include the monograph Austria Revisited: Tourism, Space and National Identity from 1945 to the Present, published with Berghahn Press in 2020 and the translation of excerpts from Reinhold Messner’s memoir Am Abgrund, published in 2020 in the anthology Mountains and the German Mind: Translations from Gessner to Messner, 1541-2009, edited by Sean Ireton and Caroline Schaumann.

Michael Orthofer is the founder of the Complete Review ( and its Literary Saloon blog, where he has been reviewing books and expounding on the international literary scene since 1999. His most recent book is The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction (Columbia University Press, 2016).

Michael Z. Wise is the publisher of New Vessel Press. He has worked as a foreign correspondent based in London and Vienna, having covered Austria and Czechoslovakia for Reuters and The Washington Post. He is the author of Capital Dilemma: Germany's Search for a New Architecture of Democracy and reads and speaks German and French. New Vessel Press is an independent publishing house devoted to translated literature and narrative nonfiction from around the world. It published the 2019 National Translation Award winning novel What's Left of the Night by Ersi Sotiropoulos and translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich.


The 2017 Austrian Cultural Forum New York Translation Prize has been awarded to translator, editor and writer Adrian Nathan West.

An independent jury of U.S. and Austrian literary experts, publishers, and critics selected West’s translation of The Abduction [Die Verschleppung] by Austrian writer Josef Winkler as the winner from among the submissions received.

The award, which includes a $5,000 stipend, was presented to Mr. West in the presence of award-winning author Josef Winkler on October 12, 2017 in a special literary event at the ACFNY’s Manhattan theater. Jeremy Davies, editor at Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, delivered the laudation. Prior to the ceremony Josef Winkler, Adrian West as well as the Austrian-American writer John Wray engaged in a discussion about “Memory and Identity in Contemporary Austrian Literature.” The talk was moderated by Isabelle Burden.

Adrian Nathan West’s translations from German, Spanish, Italian, Catalan and Portuguese include novels and short pieces by acclaimed writers such as Josef Winkler, Pere Gimferrer, and Marianne Fritz. In 2016, West, who resides in Pamplona, Spain, published his first book, “The Aesthetics of Degradation.”

In Die Verschleppung Winkler depicts the true story of a woman who survived the Holodomor, the terror famine under the Stalinist Government that killed millions, only to be kidnapped by the invading Nazis and abducted to Carinthia, Austria, as a forced laborer where she ended up marrying the son of the family that had enslaved her. For Die Verschleppung, Winkler, who grew up as a farmer’s son and has been awarded with the highest literary awards of the German language including the Ingeborg Bachmann and Georg Büchner Prizes for his revealing writings about rural Austria’s tense relationship with its Nazi past, homosexuality, and death, spent a year living with Valentinya Ilyashenko, the model for the book’s protagonist, and based his novel on her testimony.

After When The Time Comes (2013), Natura Morta (2014), and Graveyard of Bitter Oranges (2015), all of which have been published by Contra Mundum Press, The Abduction is Adrian Nathan West’s fourth translation of a novel by Josef Winkler.


The 2015 Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) 2015 Translation Prize has been awarded to translator, editor, and literary critic Tess Lewis.

“The jury found Tess Lewis’s text even more outstanding than a great number of excellent submissions by brilliant translators recasting a wide range of superb contemporary Austrian writers, including Josef Winkler, Clemens Setz, Friederike Mayröcker, Christoph Ransmayr, Walter Kappacher, Raoul Schrott and others,” underlined Christine Moser, the ACFNY’s Director.

An independent jury of U.S. and Austrian literary experts, publishers, and critics chose Lewis’s translation of Angel of Oblivion [Engel des Vergessens/Angel Posabe] by Slovenian-Austrian writer Maja Haderlap as the clear winner from among the submissions received.

Tess Lewis’s translations from French and German include works by Peter Handke, Alois Hotschnig, Julya Rabinowich, Melinda Nadj Abonji, Pascal Bruckner, and Jean-Luc Benoziglio. She has been awarded translation grants from PEN USA and PEN UK, a NEA Translation Fellowship, and a Max Geilinger Translation Grant for her translation of Philippe Jaccottet. She also serves as an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review and writes essays on European Literature for numerous journals and newspapers including The New Criterion, World Literature Today, The American Scholar, and Bookforum. Since 2014, Ms. Lewis has curated Festival Neue Literatur, New York City’s premiere yearly festival for German language literature in English.

Maja Haderlap’s Angel of Oblivion is a groundbreaking novel based on the author’s own family story as part of the Slovenian-speaking minority in southern Austria and that community’s struggle against the Nazis during World War II. The novel was awarded several prestigious awards including the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, the Buchpreis der Stiftung Ravensburger Verlag, the Bruno-Kreisky-Preis für das Politische Buch, and the Rauris Literature Prize. A Slovenian language theatrical adaptation of the novel, "Angel Posabe", was staged by the Slovenian National Theater in 2014.



In a unique program which includes a reading by the acclaimed Austrian –Slovenian writer Maja Haderlap, translator, editor, and literary critic Tess Lewis will be presented our 2015 Translation Award.

An independent jury chose Lewis’s translation of Angel of Oblivion [Engel des Vergessens/Angel Posabe] as the clear winner from among the submissions received in 2014. Click here for a sample of the translation.

The laudatio will be held by Paula Deitz, editor of The Hudson Review.

Read jury member Rüdiger Wischenbart's notes on Tess Lewis here.

Maja Haderlap’s Angel of Oblivion is a groundbreaking novel based on the author’s own family story as part of the Slovenian-speaking minority in southern Austria and that community’s struggle against the Nazis during World War II. The novel was awarded several prestigious awards including the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. 
Seats for this event are limited. The ceremony will be streamed online.

With special thanks to the Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen, and the ensemble Pristup.

acf translation prize winner 2011

The winner of the prestigious 2011 Austrian Cultural Forum Translation Prize was renowned American translator Damion Searls. Searls received the award for his translation of Austrian playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek’s essay her not all her (on/with Robert Walser) [er nicht als er (zu, mit Robert Walser)], first published in 1998. Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2004.

ACF Translation Prize Winner 2010

The winner of the 2010 ACF Translation Prize was David Dollenmayer, who was honored for his translation of Michael Köhlmeier’s Idyll With Drowning Dog (Idylle mit ertrinkendem Hund), first published in German in 2008.

ACF Translation Prize Winners 2009

The inaugural Translation Prize was awarded to three translators: Jean M. Snook, Uljana Wolf, and Christian Hawkey. Wolf and Hawkey collected and translated the works of distinguished author Ilse Aichinger in an anthology of short prose pieces titled Bad Words published by Fischer Verlag. Bad Words includes a large selection of Aichinger’s texts from the sixties onwards that had not been previously published in English. Jean M. Snook’s outstanding translation of Gert Jonke's novel The Distant Sound conveyed the literary and linguistic intricacy of his work in English.

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