Iryna Dmytrychyn Wins 2022 Drahomán Prize for Translating Zhadan’s ‘The Orphanage’


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The French translator of Serhiy Zhadan’s novel “The Orphanage” won one of Ukraine’s most prestigious literary awards last night at a ceremony in the Polish city of Gdansk.


Iryna Dmytrychyn, a translator from Ukrainian into French and the author of numerous publications on Ukrainian literature and history, was named the winner of the 2022 Drahomán Prize. Her translation of the novel was published by Les Éditions Noir sur Blanc, which also nominated her for the prize.


“I have deep respect for all the authors I translate, but I am particularly pleased to receive this award for ‘The Orphanage’ by Serhiy Zhadan,” Dmytrychyn said during her acceptance speech, delivered in Ukrainian. “This landmark work represents Ukraine and will help foreigners, especially the French, to understand what is happening in Ukraine, why it’s happening, and how we can achieve victory.”


As the prize winner, Dmytrychyn received a statuette created by Ukrainian sculptor Anna Zviagintseva and a cash reward of 3,000 euros. She chose to donate her prize money to three causes: to Zhadan and his efforts to supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ukraine World Podcast hosted by literary scholar Tetiana Ogarkova and philosopher Volodymyr Yermolenko, and finally, to support the work of PEN Ukraine.


Other nominees included:


Mark Andryczyk from the United States, who translates from Ukrainian to English. He was nominated by the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University for his translation of Volodymyr Rafeyenko’s “Mondegreen: Songs about Death and Love” (Harvard University Press, 2022).


Rayna Kamberova from Bulgaria, who translates from Ukrainian to Bulgarian. She was nominated by the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Bulgaria for her translation of Lyubko Deresh’s “Cult” (Ergo, 2021).


Giovanna Brogi from Italy, who translates from Ukrainian to Italian and researches Central and Eastern European literature, received a Special Award “for her exceptional contribution to the translation and promotion of Ukrainian literature, as well as to the development of Ukrainian studies in Italy.”


The Drahomán Prize, established in 2020 by the Ukrainian Institute, PEN Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Book Institute, aims to recognize and support translators who excel in translating Ukrainian literature into other languages. The award acknowledges excellence in translation as well as contributions to the international promotion of Ukrainian literature.


Dmytrychyn concluded her remarks by citing a phrase often used by Zhadan to end his popular Facebook posts.


“I will conclude with Zhadan’s words. As he often writes on Facebook, ‘Good night, tomorrow we wake up one day closer to our victory,’ and I believe in that. So tomorrow, we will be one day closer to our victory. Slava Ukraini,” she said.