Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky win the Aldo & Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work

As announced in New York on 6 December, The Modern Language Association (MLA) of America awarded its nineteenth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work to Oksana Maksymchuk, visiting lecturer for English at the University of Chicago, and Max Rosochinsky, of Chicago, Illinois, for their masterful translation of Marianna Kiyanovska’s The Voices of Babyn Yar, published by Harvard University Press in 2022. Earlier this year the translators also won the 2023 Translation Prize from American Association for Ukrainian Studies and 2023 Peterson Literary Fund 2023 Translated Book Award for the same translation. Recently, the Polish translation by Adam Pomorski of Voices of Babyn Yar earned author Marianna Kiyanovska the European Poet of Freedom Literary Award.

The MLA committee’s citation for Maksymchuk and Rosochinsky reads:

Hovering between pandemonium and the unspeakable, Marianna Kiyanovska’s The Voices of Babyn Yar channels bits of everyday observation, fragments of thoughts, and the horrors of mass execution from among the historically voiceless—the tens of thousands of Jews and others massacred on the outskirts of Kyiv in 1941—into an incantatory tour de force. In a translation that nudges close to the linguistic breaking points of the original, while retaining the fullness of its poetic registers and plethora of
references to Ukrainian, Jewish, Soviet, and Western contexts, the seasoned translators-cum-poets Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky draw attention to an extraordinary work within the literary canon of the Holocaust.

As Oleh Kotsyuba, manager of publications at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute noted, this is a significant achievement for the translators and for Ukrainian literature in translation. Until now there was only one Scaglione Translation Prize conffered to a translation from a Slavic literatures in the Prize’s history, awarded in 2019 to the American poet Alissa Valles for translating the volume Nasze życie rośnie (“Our Life Grows”) by Ryszard Krynicki.

Born and raised in Lviv, Ukraine, Oksana Maksymchuk is a bilingual Ukrainian-American poet, scholar, and literary translator. She currently teaches at the University of Chicago.

Max Rosochinsky is a scholar, translator, and poet from Simferopol, Crimea.

Founded in 1883, The Modern Language Association of America and its over 20,000 members in 100 countries work to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. The Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work is one of twenty-two prizes that will be presented on 5 January 2024 during the association’s annual convention, to be held in Philadelphia. The prize is awarded annually for a translation into English of a book-length literary work. The members of this year’s selection committee were Jacques Lezra (Univ. of California, Riverside); Sherry Roush (Penn State Univ., University Park); C. P. Haun Saussy (Univ. of Chicago); Patricia A. Sieber (Ohio State Univ., Columbus); and Sherry Simon (Concordia Univ.), chair.