Last Supper takes translation prize

Liz Thomson
News - Prizes 01 May 2009

Found in Translation, the annual prize given for the best translation of Polish literature into English, has gone to Antonia Lloyd-Jones for her translation of Pawel Huelle's book The Last Supper ( Ostatnia wieczerza ), published by Serpent's Tail in 2008. It is 'a novel raising fundamental questions about the nature of belief in modern society'. Lloyd-Jones will receive the prize from Huelle himself during the European Literature Night in the British Library on 13 May. Tickets for the event are available from the British Library website . The novel is set in Gdansk and centres on a single day in the near future, when 12 men have been invited by their mutual friend, an artist, to model at a photographic session for a modern version of the Last Supper. The histories of the men are revealed through their thoughts on the day: their wayward behaviour is a reflection of the role of the Church in Polish society . The reunion is disturbed as a wave of terrorist bombs paralyses the city.


The book has been praised both for Huelle's writing and Lloyd Jones translation. Boyd Tonkin wrote in the Independent that it was 'an intelligent, intriguing and atmospheric novel worthy of its inspiration. It is admirably served by Antonia Lloyd-Jones' nuanced and readable translation.'

Lloyd-Jones' published translations from Polish include novels by Pawe Huelle and Olga Tokarczuk, short stories by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, and non-fiction, most recently by Ryszard Kapuscinski and Wojciech Tochman. Her translations of poetry have appeared in periodicals including The Edinburgh Review.
Found in Translation is co-funded by the Polish Book Institute in Krakow, Polish Cultural Institute in London, Polish Cultural Institute in New York and WAB Publishers in Warsaw. The winner will receive PLN 10,000 (about £2,000) as well as a three-month scholarship from the Polish Book Institute. The first Found in Translation Award, in 2008, was given to Bill Johnston for his translation of New Poems by Tadeusz Rozewicz (Archipelago Books, New York).

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