John K. Cox, a literary translator and NDSU professor of history, philosophy and religious studies, recently won the Serbian PEN Center award for the best translator of Serbian literature in 2021. The award is decided by the center’s board of directors.
“I consider this award a great honor because Serbian literature is so rich, diverse and challenging. As a specialist in intellectual history, I’m fortunate to be able to work with literary texts in addition to more traditional historical materials, and it makes me really happy to think that more people might be able to enjoy Serbian culture as I put more and more parts of it into circulation in the anglosphere,” Cox said. “Serbian literature offers us a great deal of beauty but also develops many important ideas and observations about history and society. I am very grateful to the Serbian PEN Center for recognizing my published translations in this way.”
Cox was recognized for his dedicated and persistent work in the last 15 years of translating the works of contemporary Serbian writers of several generations.
Cox has translated into English the works of Ivo Andrić, Meša Selimović, Branko Ćopić, Danilo Kiš, Biljana Jovanović, Judita Šalgo, Goran Petrović and a number of other authors, including many from other languages.
In his translations, Cox has been especially dedicated to translating the books of Kiš and Jovanović. Cox has translated six books by Kiš into English, including translations of selected stories, poetry, plays and screenplays, as well as translations of the short story collection “The Lute and Scars" and the novels "The Attic" and "Psalm 44." Cox also translated all three of Jovanović's novels into English: "Avala Is Falling,” “Dogs and Others” and "My Soul, My One and Only” (forthcoming).
The award is scheduled to be presented at a ceremony in September, the Serbian PEN Center announced.
The Serbian PEN Center award for the best translator of Serbian literature has been awarded since 1965 and the winners of the award are the most important translators of Serbian literature in more than half a century.
As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.