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Mexico Creates Prize to Honor Outstanding Literary Translators

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August 24, 2012

Author, translator and poet Tomas Segovia

A new award bearing the name of Spanish-born Mexican author, translator and poet Tomas Segovia (1927-2011) has been created to honor outstanding work in literary translation, Mexican cultural officials said.

The prize recognizes translations that "bring the Hispanic literary tradition to other languages," National Culture and Arts Council, or Conaculta, president Consuelo Saizar said in a press conference Wednesday in this western Mexican city.

The honor carries a cash prize of $100,000 and is financed by Conaculta in partnership with Fondo de Cultura Economica - Mexico's leading publishing house - and the Guadalajara International Book Fair, where this year's award ceremony will take place in November.

In alternating years, the award will honor the work of professionals who translate from Spanish into another language and those who translate from other languages into Spanish, Saizar said.

According to Mexican financial daily El Economista, the first edition of the prize will honor professionals whose target language is Spanish.

In addition to having their acceptance speech published, award recipients will have the chance to bring their translated works to other book fairs, the president of the Guadalajara International Book Fair, Raul Padilla, said.

This "new and necessary" literary translation prize honors the work of Segovia, who brought universal works such as Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Victor Hugo's religious epic "Dieu" (God) to readers of Spanish, Padilla said.

Born in Valencia in 1927, Segovia's childhood was interrupted by the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War, which forced his family to flee Spain and resettle in Mexico in 1940.

In addition to translation and text correction, he also dedicated part of his professional life to cinema, radio and cultural promotion in Mexico, where he spent most of his life.

Candidates in the first edition of the Tomas Segovia prize may be nominated by cultural or educational institutions, associations or publishing groups by Oct. 29.

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