The MGSA is pleased to award the 2022 Elizabeth Constantinides Memorial Translation Prize to Peter Constantine (University of Connecticut) for his translation of selections from Eleni Kefala’s poetry collection, Time Stitches, which will be published by Deep Vellum next month. The Elizabeth Constantinides Prize Committee was composed of Joanna Eleftheriou (chair), Natalie Bakopoulos, Patricia Felisa Barbeito, and Katerina Stergiopoulou. The decision to award the prize to Peter Constantine was unanimous.
The committee’s award citation reads as follows:
The committee was delighted to receive a translation as stunning, powerful, and important as Peter Constantine’sTime Stitches by Eleni Kefala. Time Stitches comprises an exquisite set of linked poems that center around British colonial Cyprus, but radiate out into other eras, more distant in the past and more recent. The translator’s deft approach to a complex and challenging Greek text has produced an inspired translation that stands up beautifully as poems in English. We were impressed by the deep, careful thought that went into the work -- as evidenced both by the translator’s note and artistic results themselves-- without losing the subtlety, apparent simplicity, and inventiveness of the Greek poems. By gracefully accounting for a variety of linguistic registers as well as playfulness with white space on the page, the translation of Time Stitches is a monumental accomplishment that does a great service to Greek and Cypriot letters by making these important poems available to readers of the Anglophone world.
Peter Constantine is a literary translator and editor, and the director of the Literary Translation Program at the University of Connecticut. His recent translations, published by Random House (Modern Library), include The Essential Writings of Rousseau, The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, and works by Tolstoy, Gogol, and Voltaire. His translation of the complete works of Isaac Babel received the Koret Jewish Literature Award and a National Jewish Book Award citation. He co-edited A Century of Greek Poetry: 1900-2000, and the anthology The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present, which W.W. Norton published in 2010. A Guggenheim Fellow, he was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann, and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov. Peter Constantine has been a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library and a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
The Constantinides Prize is open to both members and non-members; to published and unpublished work; and it is open to translators of Greek worldwide. The award this year covers works submitted over a three-year period and comes with a prize of $500. The Award Ceremony will take place at the 27th MGSA Symposium on Thursday, October 13, 2022, in Toronto.
The MGSA congratulates all the prize participants on their contribution and conveys its gratitude to them for submitting their important work and sharing it with us.
Vangelis Calotychos, MGSA Executive Director
The MGSA Constantinides Memorial Translation Prize is intended to raise the profile of contemporary Greek literature in English and to award translation as a creative, intellectually meaningful exercise. Established in 1995 and administered by the MGSA, the Prize honors the memory of Elizabeth Constantinides (1932-1992, Ph.D. in Greek and Latin from Columbia University), who taught Modern Greek language and literature at Queens College of CUNY from 1978 to 1992, wrote on Alexandros Papadiamantis, and translated twelve short stories by Papadiamantis, published as Tales from a Greek Island (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987). Constantinides served on the Executive Committee of the MGSA and was awarded the 1987 prize of the Society of Literary Translators in Athens, Greece.