The winner of Talât Sait Halman Translation Award is announced

Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts introduced an encouragement award for the first time last year, in honour of Talât Sait Halman to support outstanding translations of literary works, including but not limited to poetry, short stories and novels. The award ceremony for the second Talât Sait Halman Translation Award was held on 20 December 2016 at the Nejat Eczacıbaşı building.

Talât Sait Halman Translation Award of 15.000 TL was presented to Ahmet Arpad, for his outstanding translation of Anna Seghers’ Transit. Talât Sait Halman Translation Award is the first prize awarded by İKSV in the field of literature.

The award ceremony started with İKSV General Director Görgün Taner’s presentation and followed by the commemoration of author and translator Bertan Onaran who passed away last week. Onaran brought Cervantes, Emile Zola, Jules Verne and many other authors into Turkish.

Bülent Eczacıbaşı, Chairman of the Board of İKSV said in his opening speech, “One of İKSV’s primary objectives is to play an active role in culture and art production. Through the Talât Sait Halman Translation Award, now in its second year, we hope to support translators who are producing outstanding translations of world literature into Turkish and to encourage new works of this kind and caliber. Talât Sait Halman was Turkey’s first Minister of Culture and first Ambassador for Cultural Affairs. In 2008, he became Chairman of IKSV’s Board of Trustees, a position he held until his death in December 2014. A fervent supporter of IKSV from the outset, he contributed hugely to the realization of the first festival. Throughout his life, Mr. Halman also dedicated great effort to the art of translation, which he considered an important form of creative production. Hence, we are greatly indebted to Mr. Halman for his many contributions to our cultural life, art and literature, and we will forever remember him with love and respect. We hope this award will be an important vehicle for transmitting the memory of his life and works to future generations. On behalf of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, I would like to convey my wholehearted gratitude to every translator who applied for this award, as well as to the honorable members of the jury and all of our distinguished guests here with us today.”

The head of the selection committee, Doğan Hızlan, announced the winner of the award as translator Ahmet Arpad: “Even the most certain shelters and situations can only be a short break for the people of this novel. Ahmet Arpad succeeded in bringing the identity losses caused by the exposure to such situations in style of Seghers. On the other hand, the environment that surrounds ‘Transit’ is a ‘Kafkaesque’ environment in real terms; because when looked closely, it cannot be explained or grounded by any non-war logic people in it have to live with. Translator Ahmet Arpad did not once neglected this atmosphere throughout the 320 paged novel. Considering all these features, the Talât Sait Halman Translation Award selection committee honoured Ahmet Arpad with the second Talât Sait Halman Translation Award.” The award was presented to Ahmet Arpad by the Chairman of İKSV Bülent Eczacıbaşı.

Pioneering names from theatre and literary milieus attended the night that took place at the Nejat Eczacıbaşı building. Application deadline for Talât Sait Halman Translation Award 2017 is September 2017. Publishing houses and translators may apply with their literary translations from any other language to Turkish and published within 2017.

2015 Talât Sait Halman Translation Award was presented to Siren İdemen, for her outstanding translation of Georges Perec’s La Boutique Obscure: 124 Rêves, titled in Turkish Karanlık Dükkân: 124 Rüya.

Talât Sait Halman Translation Award Applications and Selection Committee
Applications of publishing houses and translators for Talât Sait Halman Translation Award had been evaluated by a Selection Committee headed by author Doğan Hızlan and composed of author, translator, and critic Sevin Okyay, author and translator Ahmet Cemal, author and translator Yiğit Bener, and author and translator Kaya Genç.

More than 70 works that were completed within 2015, including poems, short stories and novels translated from English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Porteguese, Persian, Japan, Greek, Chinese, Finish, Dutch and Hungarian, applied for the award, which was announced in October 2016.

About Ahmet Arpad

Born in Istanbul in 1942, Ahmet Arpad has been living in Germany since 1968 after receiving his higher education at Istanbul University’s Department of German Language and Literature. Ahmet Arpad formed the German-Turkish Forum with Edzard Reuter and the former Mayor of Stuttgart Prof. Manfred Rommel, with the support of Baden-Wurttemberg State Administration, Stuttgart Municipality and the Robert Bosch Foundation. Arpad, a second place winner of the 1994-1995 Abdi İpekci Travel Writing Contest, is also a member of the German Press Federation (Deutshcer Presse Verband - DPV), PEN Turkey Centre, Salzburg Stefan Zweig Centre and Turkish Association of Translators (ÇEVBİR). In 2012, Ahmet Arpad was honoured with the Tarabya Translation Award, jointly presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, The Goethe-Institut, Robert Bosch Foundation and S. Fischer Foundation. Ahmet Arpad is best known for his translations of various works by Heinrich Böll, Gerhard Hauptmann, Hermann Hesse, Stefan Zweig, Hans Fallada, Anna Seghers, Pablo Neruda, Johannes M.Simmel, Thomas Bernhard and Harry Mulisch.

Born in Istanbul in 1931, Talât Sait Halman graduated from Robert College in 1951 and received his Master's Degree from Columbia University in 1954. For 30 years he was on the faculties of Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and New York University, where he also served as chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures for 10 years. In 1998, he founded the Department of Turkish Literature at Bilkent University and served as its chairman. He was also Bilkent's Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Letters.

Turkey's first ever Minister of Culture and later its Ambassador for Cultural Affairs, Halman also held positions as Deputy Permanent Representative at the United Nations and as a member of the board of directors of PEN American Centre. He was a member of the UNESCO executive board for four years. He served as President of the UNICEF Turkish National Committee since 2003 and President of the İKSV Board of Trustees since 2008 until his passing on 5 December 2014.

Halman has published 75 books and over 3,000 articles, studies, newspaper columns and essays in English and Turkish. 30 of Halman's books are in English. His vast translations include major literary works from classical and modern Turkish literature. Halman was the general editor of the Journal of Turkish Literature, the first and only scholarly English-language journal devoted in its entirety to Turkish literature. Some of Halman's books have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Hebrew, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Urdu. In addition to more than 5,000 poem translations and two books of his own poetry published in English, a work of Halman's collected poems entitled Ümit Harmanı (Harvest of Hope) was released by İş Bankası Cultural Publications. Halman has translated the complete sonnets of Shakespeare into Turkish and his last book published before his death was William Shakespeare: Aşk ve Anlatı Şiirleri (Shakespeare's Poems of Love and Narration). With this 4,000 verse book, all of Shakespeare's works have been translated into the Turkish language.

Halman's awards include many literary prizes, honorary doctorates from Boğaziçi University and Ankara University, the UNESCO Medal, Columbia University's “Thornton Wilder Prize” for Translation, the Most Successful Turkish Scholar in the U.S. Award, and the Distinguished Service Award of the Turkish Academy of Sciences and of the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Knight Grand Cross (GBE), the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, conferred on him by Queen Elizabeth II.