Press release: 9 September 2005

Sorkin and Vianu win Translation Prize.

Adam J Sorkin and Lidia Vianu have won the 2005 Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation for their translation of The Bridge by the eminent and widely respected Romanian poet Marin Sorescu. They will join a prestigious list of previous winners that include Tony Harrison, Ewald Osers, Francis Jones and David Constantine.

A prize giving ceremony took place last night in the tranquil and beautiful setting of Goodenough College, supported by the Ratiu Family Foundation. The evening was hosted by the judges, Alan Brownjohn and Dr. Mike Phillips, and included readings from the short-listed books of poetry before the winners were announced. Sorkin was delighted that he could attend the event and receive the prize on behalf of himself and Vianu to whom he couldn't wait to break the good news. He said he felt a 'spiritual kinship' with Sorescu and was 'thrilled to make him live again'.

This is not the first time Adam J Sorkin has been awarded for his translation skills; he has won the International Quarterly Crossing Boundaries Translation Award, the Kennneth Rexroth Memorial Translation Prize, and honours in Romania in Cluj, Iasi and Satu Mare, and his work has been awarded Fulbright, IREX, Academy of American Poets, Witter Bynner and Rockefeller Foundation grants. Sorkin is Distinguished Professor of English at Penn State University.

Lidia Vianu, a Romanian poet, novelist, critic and translator, is also no stranger to success when it comes to translating poetry. She has twice been Fulbright lecturer in Comparative Literature, at the State University of New York and the University of California, Berkeley, and she has been awarded a grant from the Soros Foundation. Vianu is Professor of English at the University of Bucharest.

Sorkin and Vianu dedicate their translation to the memory of Marin Sorescu, who wrote prolifically during the last two weeks of his life before a premature death in 1996 at the age of 60, and of his wife Virginia who died an untimely death in 2001. "These poems, with their dedication, To all who suffer, are a testament not just to human mortality and pain but to resistance and triumph, a creative transformation of the struggle to accept fate and in the same breath defy its imminent finality."

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Notes to Editors

  • The Bridge is available from Bloodaxe Books:
  • For more information about the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation visit :
  • The next Corneliu M Popescu prize for European Poetry Translation will be launched in February 2007. 
  • The Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation is named after Corneliu M Popescu, translator of the work of one of Romania's leading poets, Mihai Eminescu, into English. Popescu was tragically killed in the violent earthquake of 4 March 1977, aged 19.

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