Romanian writer and Bard College professor Norman Manea has been honored with the 2011 Nelly-Sachs-Prize of the City of Dortmund, a prestigious German literary award. Initiated in 1961 and granted every two years, the prize honors authors “for outstanding literary contribution to the promotion of understanding between people” and includes a cash award of €15,000. Past recipients of the prize include Nobel laureates Nelly Sachs, Elias Canetti, Nadine Gordimer, as well as Milan Kundera, Erich Fromm, Giorgio Bassani, Juan Goytisolo, Javier Marias, Christa Wolf, and Margaret Atwood. Explaining their choice, the 2011 jury, which included literary critics from Die Zeit, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Rundschau and Deutsche Akademie fur Sprache und Dichtung, states that “Manea is an important representative of an enlightened literary modernity. His novel The Hooligan’s Return, a self-portrait, impressive through its moral courage and virtuosity of language, conveys from the backstage of his own biography profound and unsettling aspects of Romanian history.”
Norman Manea, Francis Flournoy Professor in European Studies and Culture, has been a member of the Bard College faculty since 1989 and is the author of 22 volumes of fiction and essays. Among numerous honors, he has received MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, the National Jewish Book Award, and the Literary Lion Medal of the State Library of New York. He has been awarded Italy’s International Nonino Prize for Literature, and is an elected member of the Berlin Academy of Art. His memoir The Hooligan’s Return received France’s Prix Médicis Étranger in 2006. In 2007, he was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit by the president of Romania; in 2008, he received honorary degrees in literature from the University of Bucharest and Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania. In 2009, the French Ministry of Culture conferred upon him the most prestigious title of Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His work has been translated into 20 languages. Norman Manea is the first Romanian writer to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (Great Britain).