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David McDuff honoured with state translator's prize

The winner has focused on bringing Finland's Swedish-language poets to English readers.

David McDuff
David McDuff Image: Anna McDuff

This year’s Finnish state foreign translator’s prize has been awarded to Britain’s David McDuff. The award is worth 15,000 euros.

McDuff has mostly translated Swedo-Finnish literature, including works by Bo Carpelan, Gösta Ågren, Tua Forsström and Edith Södergran. McDuff’s latest translation is Finnish-language author Tuomas Kyrö’s 2011 novel The Beggar and the Hare (Kerjäläinen ja jänis).

Few Finnish twentieth-century poets have been translated into English. McDuff hopes to translate poetry by Saima Harmaja, Kaarlo Sarkia, Katri Vala and Uuno Kaila.

“These poets have much to say to contemporary readers all over the world,” he says.

McDuff earned a doctorate in Russian language and literature before broadening his linguistic skills to include German and Nordic languages. He has studied Finnish at the universities of London and Helsinki. McDuff now lives in Kent, England.

This was the 39 annual foreign translator’s award handed out by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

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