Iron Twine Author, Lyn Coffin, Wins Georgian National Literature Prize

The Knight in the Panther Skin, translated by Lyn Coffin, winner of the 2016 Saba Award for Translation

The Knight in the Panther Skin, translated by Lyn Coffin, winner of the 2016 Saba Award for Translation

On September 18th, 2016 it was announced that American author, playwright, poet, fiction writer, translator, and Seattle resident Lyn Coffin has been awarded Georgia’s top literary prize, the Saba, for her translation of Shota Rustaveli’s, The Knight in the Panther Skin (Poezia Press, 2015).

We published an interview with Lyn about this amazing work earlier this year. But, just to refresh your memory:

The Knight in the Panther Skin is a 12th-century epic poem from the country of Georgia. It is considered the national poem of Georgia. It has been largely unknown to English-speaking audiences because few translations have been produced. Those translations that have appeared over the years have opted for free verse or prose re-tellings rather than the much-more-difficult poetic translation in meter faithful to the original. Some scholars familiar with the poem have even gone so far as to say a translation that preserved the rhymes, the metaphors, the poetry and the scope of the original was impossible.  Lyn Coffin took on that “impossible” challenge, working for over two years to faithfully translate, line by line, the 1,661 quatrains of the nearly nine-hundred-year-old masterwork.

Lyn Coffin read from her translation of The Knight in the Panther Skin to an audience in Georgia on September 20th, 2016

Lyn Coffin read from her translation of The Knight in the Panther Skin to an audience in Georgia on September 20th, 2016

Saba is the most prestigious literary award in Georgia, founded by TBC Bank and Rustavi-2 TV. Its winners are revealed each year. The categories vary from fiction to non-fiction, poetry, as well as translation works.

Following her time in Georgia for the Saba Award ceremony, Lyn will travel to Stockholm, Sweden to present a reading from her latest collection of short fiction The First Honeymoon: New and Selected Stories (Iron Twine Press, 2015). She’ll read at The English Bookshop in Stockholm, October 8 at 10 a.m. and then will return to Seattle where she will be reading at Elliott Bay Book Company on October 28 at 2 p.m. in support of Color Stories (forthcoming from Iron Twine Press, 2016) a short-fiction anthology in which her work is featured.

Congratulations to Lyn and Poezia Press for this remarkable honor!

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