Icelandic translator Friðrik Rafnsson (pictured) scooped the first-ever Icepick Award at a celebratory dinner for the Iceland Noir crime writing festival on Saturday night, for his translation, from French, of publishing phenomenon THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joel Dicker.
Dicker's novel about a young novelist visiting his mentor in Somerset, a mentor who then becomes embroiled in a sensational cold-case murder enquiry, has already won several awards in France, sold more than 2 million copies in Europe, received a lot of critical acclaim, and had its film rights optioned.
It was one of five finalists for the inaugural Icepick Award, which celebrates the translation of great crime novels into Icelandic. Other finalists included the translation of Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL by Bjarni Jónsson, the translation of Jo Nesbo's THE LEOPARD by Bjarni Gunnarsson, the translation of Hakan Nesser's MAN WITHOUT DOG by Ævar Örn Jósepsson, and the translation of Finnish rising star Antti Tuomainen's MY BROTHER'S KEEPER by Sigurður Karlsson.
The award was founded by the Reykjavik crime festival Iceland Noir, The Icelandic Association of Translators and Interpreters and The Icelandic Crime Writing Association.
Speaking to Lilja Sigurdardottir, one of Iceland Noir's organisers in 2014, about the award, she told me that they were keen to celebrate the terrific and important work of translators, who are often overlooked, as there was already a separate award for Icelandic crime writers that is presented each summer.
The judging panel for the Icepick Award was comprised of Magnea J. Matthíasdóttir, Chairman of The Icelandic Association of Translators and Interpreters, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Culture and Education, journalist and literary critic Kolbrún Bergþórsdóttir, and crime writers Quentin Bates and Ragnar Jónasson. Bates and Jonasson were part of the organising team for Iceland Noir, and Jakobsdottir was MC for the dinner event at Nordic House, and presented the award.
It's great to see translators getting their due. Rafnsson, who came across as a humble man, was clearly pleased to win the award, and it was great to witness the first-ever presentation in person.