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International Literature Prize 2024 goes to author Pajtim Statovci and translator Stefan Moster

Editors’ Choice

Author Pajtim Statovci and translator Stefan Moster have been awarded the International Literature Prize 2024, the prize for translated contemporary literature, for their novel Meiine Katze Jugoslawien (Luchterhand Literaturverlag, 2024). This year’s winners were announced on 5 July 2024 during an award ceremony at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW).

Image. above: My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci, translated from Finnish by Stefan Moster, Luchterhand Literaturverlag, 2024. photo: HKW

The Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Elementarteilchen 2024 Foundation are awarding the International Literature Prize for the sixteenth time. Endowed with 35,000 euros – 20,000 euros for the author, 15,000 euros for the translator – it honours an outstanding work of international contemporary literature in its first German translation. In this alliance, it honours both the original work and the translation. The dual focus makes it unique in the German prize landscape.

The winners of the International Literature Prize 2024, author Pajtim Statovci and translator Stefan Moster. Photo: Silke Briel/HKW

From the jury’s statement:

“My Cat Yugoslavia is an obstinate novel, easily accessible in terms of language and yet densely filled with all the complexities that human emotional worlds have to offer. We alternately follow a mother and her son through different times and situations in their lives, both connected by what separates them: the violence of a man, patriarchal violence.
Pajtim Statovci dares to unsettle his readers by breaking with the conventions of the autofictional migration novel. In doing so, he effortlessly traverses different time periods and subjects, masterfully bringing together the ordinary and the surreal, the banal and the existential. In this way, he leads us through the very concrete experience of what can probably be described in the abstract as transgenerational trauma. At times touching, often funny and consistently unsparing.
Statovci’s restrained language has been translated into German by Stefan Moster simply but all the more effectively. His translation is smooth, both in the poetic descriptions and in the laconic and humorous passages, and testifies to a deep familiarity with the languages between which he operates. With My Cat Yugoslavia, Pajtim Statovci has succeeded in writing nothing less than a European novel – a novel of exile, a generational novel, a queer novel, none of which terms alone would do it justice. A literary work that can now also be read in German thanks to Stefan Moster’s translation.”

– from the jury statement

This year’s jury consists of Asal Dardan, Ibou Coulibaly Diop, Beatrice Faßbender, Khuê Phạm, Olga Radetzkaja, Cia Rinne and Deniz Utlu.

The award winners

Pajtim Statovci, born in 1990, is a Finnish-Kosovar writer. At the age of two, he moved with his parents from Kosovo to Finland, where he studied comparative literature. Statovci’s work has been honoured many times, including the Helsinki Writer of the Year Award. He works as a research assistant at the University of Helsinki.

Stefan Moster, born in Mainz in 1964, is a writer and translator. He has lectured at universities in Munich and Helsinki and translated works by Hannu Raittila, Ilkka Remes, Kari Hotakainen, Markku Ropponen, Petri Tamminen and Daniel Katz, among others, into German. Moster made his literary debut in 2009 with the novel The Impossibility of Playing Four Hands. He was honoured with the Finnish State Prize for Foreign Translators in 2001, the Martha Saalfeld Prize in 2018 and the Helmut M. Braem Translator’s Prize in 2022.

Partner

The International Literature Prize is awarded by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and the Stiftung Elementarteilchen (Hamburg).

Meine Katze Jugoslawien
By Pajtim Statovci. Translated from the Finnish by Stefan Moster
Luchterhand Literaturverlag, 2024
320 pages, hardcover with dust jacket
Price: 24 EUR
Finnish: Kissani Jugoslavia
Otava, 2014





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