Institut Ramon LLull

Professor Dominic Keown, Nina Avrova, Àxel Sanjosé and József Kardos: recipients of the Ramon Llull International Awards


The gala presentation ceremony of the Ramon Llull International Awards took place last Monday in Andorra. Organised by the Ramon Llull Foundation, the awards recognise individuals or institutions based outside Catalan-speaking areas that have contributed to the promotion of Catalan language and culture on the international stage. The event was hosted by the Andorran Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports, Mònica Bonell, and the Minister of Culture of the Government of Catalonia, Natàlia Garriga.

The international awards bestowed by the Ramon Llull Foundation recognise the work of professionals based outside Catalan-speaking territories who have contributed to the promotion of Catalan language and culture. The recipients of the 11th awards are the Hungarian cultural programmer József Kardos, the Catalan-German poet and translator Àxel Sanjosé, the Russian translator and teacher Nina Avrova and the British academic Professor Dominic Keown.

The event, held at the National Auditorium of Andorra in Ordino, was hosted by the Andorran Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports, Mònica Bonell, accompanied by the Minister of Culture of the Government of Catalonia, Natàlia Garriga; the director of the Ramon Llull Foundation, Teresa Colom; and the director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Pere Almeda.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mònica Bonell highlighted “the importance of the Awards for the entire linguistic space of which we are part. We want them to serve as a tool to raise awareness in Andorran society of the strength of our culture, to make us proud of it and appreciate it, and for everyone to understand our institutional commitment to the vitality and international promotion of our language and culture, which is both our own and shared with others.” In this respect, the minister underlined that “in order for a culture to be effectively promoted abroad, several requirements must be met. First of all, it must be a living and high-quality culture, ambitious and with universal reach. But institutional commitment is also required. This event is the perfect occasion to reflect on and renew the commitment made by the Government of Andorra, embodied in our active participation in the Ramon Llull Foundation.”

Meanwhile, the Catalan Minister of Culture, Natàlia Garriga, stated that “the history of the Ramon Llull International Awards and the work of their recipients are proof of the purple patch we’re having in terms of international reach.” She also highlighted the high profile enjoyed in recent times by “culture made in Catalan-speaking areas: from film to pop culture”, along with “the common mission for cooperation and internationalisation represented by the Ramon Llull Foundation.” The minister was keen to single out the Andorran government’s commitment to “the Ramon Llull Foundation project and all it represents,” praising it for “its recent efforts to guarantee the use of the Catalan language.”

The awards ceremony featured musical performances by groups from Andorra, Occitania, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands: the Andorran duo Roser Puigbó and David Sanz; the Roussillon-based group Llamp te Frigui; the Catalan singer Lia Sampai, accompanied by Adrià Pagés; and the Mallorcan musician Maria Hein, accompanied by Nicole Torrealba.

Ramon Llull International Award for Catalan Studies and Linguistic Diversity: Professor Dominic Keown

The Ramon Llull International Award for Catalan Studies and Cultural Diversity aims to recognise the body of work of an individual from outside the Catalan-speaking areas, written in any language, which displays outstanding knowledge of the historical and cultural reality of Catalonia; or the significant theoretical or practical contribution made by an individual, from any country, to the knowledge, recognition, promotion or defence of one or more stateless cultures and nations. The award is jointly bestowed by the Ramon Llull Foundation and the Congress of Catalan Culture Foundation. It is endowed with 6,000 euros.

The jury considers Professor Dominic Keown a worthy recipient of the award for his contribution to Catalan studies, which encompasses several areas: teaching of the Catalan language; academic research in the fields of culture, literature and film; translation; and promotion of the language, both at the universities where he has worked and through the Anglo-Catalan Society. Professor Keown’s efforts to incorporate Catalan within the academic offering of the University of Cambridge are also noteworthy.

Ramon Llull International Literary Translation Award (Career): Nina Avrova

The purpose of this award is to recognise the career of translators of Catalan literature and the work carried out by the most established professionals. Candidates must have published more than five works of literature translated from Catalan. The award is endowed with 6,000 euros.

The jury considers Nina Avrova a worthy recipient of the award for her unquestionably valuable contribution to disseminating Catalan literature in Russia as a translator from Catalan into Russian. For more than 40 years, Avrova has worked in Catalonia as a translator from Catalan into Russian or vice versa, in addition to her teaching activity. She has translated La pell freda (Cold Skin) and Pandora al Congo (Pandora in the Congo) by Albert Sánchez Piñol, in 2006 and 2007, respectively, and Vuitanta-sis contes (Eighty-Six Stories) by Quim Monzó, in 2009. She has also translated several short stories by Mercè Rodoreda, Manuel de Pedrolo, Sergi Pàmies and Bel Olid, as well as plays and fables.

Ramon Llull Award for Literary Translation: Àxel Sanjosé

The Ramon Llull Award for Literary Translation is bestowed by the Ramon Llull Foundation. It recognises the author of the best literary translation from Catalan published in the year prior to that of the call for entries. Literary works translated by more than one translator are not eligible for submission. The award is endowed with 4,000 euros.

The jury has decided to give the award to Àxel Sanjosé, in recognition of his translation into German of an anthology of poems by Joan Maragall, published under the title Der Pinien Grün, des Meeres Blau (The Green of the Pines, the Blue of the Sea). Published by the Lyrik Kabinett Foundation, the translation has received extremely positive feedback in the reports of the external evaluators.

The jury highlighted that the translator has succeeded in conveying the poet’s voice in a highly diverse anthology, which Sanjosé himself has produced, and which has been published by a leading publishing house on the German poetry scene. The exquisitely produced bilingual edition of the anthology also incorporates the philological criteria on which the translator has based his decisions.

Ramon Llull Award for the International Promotion of Catalan Creation: József Kardos

This is the 11th edition of an award organised by the Ramon Llull Foundation that honours an individual or institution from abroad with an outstanding track record for showing special sensitivity towards Catalan culture, raising its international profile. The award is endowed with 4,000 euros.

The jury considers József Kardos, artistic programmer of the Sziget Festival, a worthy recipient of the award for the special interest he has shown in programming Catalan companies – in particular those devoted to street art, dance, circus and music – every year in a multicultural week-long summer festival on Óbuda island in the north of Budapest (Hungary), known as the Island of Freedom.

The jury valued his continued support for artists of all disciplines of the Catalan arts at a leading European festival that stands out for its championing of freedom of expression and its respect for differences in cultural, religious or sexual orientation.

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