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Latvian-Estonian language award winner named

On 10 April 2019 in Tallinn, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser presented the annual Latvian-Estonian Languages Award. 

This year the prize went to Guntars Godiņš for what definitely counts as a Latvian-Estonian language project - a new translation into Latvian of Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald.

The foreign ministries of Latvia and Estonia have jointly presented the award since 2010, and this year, it is awarded for the 10th time. The aim of the prize is to raise awareness of Latvian and Estonian languages and recognise the work of Latvian and Estonian translators, linguists and teachers in promoting the languages. The winner is awarded €3000, contributed equally by both ministries.

"This Language Award is of great importance for the promotion of literature and academic research in both countries, and is also an opportunity to assess the role of our teaching staff and translators in promoting bilateral relations. I would like to thank the nominees to this year's Language Award for their important translations and contribution to the promotion of both languages,” said the Latvian Foreign Minister at the presentation ceremony in Tallinn, where he is accompanying President Raimonds Vējonis on a state visit.

“We can admire the language skills of the translator, creating a unique mode of expression almost 90 years after the first edition in Latvian," the Minister added.

“This year, the presentation of the Estonian-Latvian Language Award is slightly more significant and formal than usual. It is a great joy to note that the joint initiative of the foreign ministries of Estonia and Latvia has turned into a dignified tradition, and it is already the 10th year for us to present the award,” Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser said at the ceremony.

“The jury awarded the prize to an extremely experienced Latvian poet and translator who has previously translated nearly 40 literary works from Estonian. As a present for the centenary of Estonia and Latvia, he decided to go through a true trial by fire for a translator and take on the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg. After nearly four years, Kalevdels was published. Congratulations, Guntars Godiņš!” Mikser said.

Last year, the prize was awarded to translator Rūta Karma for her translation of Viivi Luik’s novel “Varjuteater” (Shadow theatre). In previous years the winners were Maima Grīnberga, Guntars Godiņš, Kalev Kalkun, Margus Konnula (Contra), Valts Ernštreits, and Livia Viitol. 

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