“The Master of Petersburg” translator Mohammadreza Torktataari wins Abolhassan Najafi Award

January 27, 2021 - 18:57

TEHRAN – Mohammadreza Torktataari won the Abolhassan Najafi Award for his translation of “The Master of Petersburg”, a 1994 novel by South African writer J. M. Coetzee, the organizers announced on Tuesday.

The Abolhassan Najafi Award is an Iranian private literary prize that is given to a Persian translator of a novel or short story collection every year.

The award was established in the name of Abolhassan Najafi (1930-2016), the linguist and translator of French literature, by his family and the Book City Institute in 2016.

“The Master of Petersburg” is a work of fiction but features the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky as its protagonist. It is a deep, complex work that draws on the life of Dostoyevsky, the life of the author and the history of Russia to produce profoundly disturbing results. It won the 1995 Irish Times International Fiction Prize.

The award ceremony was organized online at the Book City Institute, and the jury composed of Abtin Golkar, Zia Movahhed, Mahasti Bahreini, Abdollah Kowsari, Hossein Masumi Hamedani, Musa Asvar and Abolfazl Horri gave their special prize to prominent translator Ali-Asghar Haddad.

He received a nomination for his translation of Austrian writer Josef Winkler’s 1998 novel “When the Time Comes”.

The story of the book is set in the years before the Second World War, when a man throws a statue of the crucified Christ over a waterfall. Later, in Hitler’s trenches, he loses his arms to an enemy grenade.

The blasphemer, screaming in agony, presided over by Satan, who pours a cup of gall into his open mouth, is portrayed amid the flames of hell in a painting by the parish priest that is mounted on a crucifix where the two streets in the cross-shaped village meet.

Photo: Translators Ali-Asghar Haddad (L) and Mohammadreza Torktataari pose after accepting the Abolhassan Najafi Award at the Book City Institute in Tehran on January 26, 2021. (BCI)


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