Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I got a great note yesterday from Wolfgang Fuchs, the German translator of Mom's Cancer, following our win of the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. Although I couldn't attend the awards ceremony in Frankfurt, a publicist for my German publisher Knesebeck e-mailed to tell me that Herr Fuchs accepted on our behalf with thoughtful and touching remarks in which he spoke of working on my book at the same time his wife was diagnosed with cancer. She's reportedly fine now, and I couldn't imagine a better acceptance speech. I thought Wolfgang's e-mail was very interesting and, with his permission, I've excerpted it below:
Heartfelt congratulations for your winning the Jugendliteraturpreis 2007 in the non-fiction section with "Mom's Cancer". It was the first time ever in the Award's 50 years history that a comic book won this award. And thus it has become proof positive of my conviction--stated in a number of publications, lectures and articles--that comics are not a medium that can be used for entertainment purposes only.
(Wolfgang and I are in strong agreement on that.)
I found the book straightforward and yet also highly emotional--which sometimes interrupted my work on the translation because it was so easy to identify with the characters and to be swept away by emotion. But--discounting for a moment the award the book brought--it was well worth it that you wrote and drew this book. And I am glad I could help in bringing it closer to German audiences.
(As am I. Wolfgang then provided me with a more natural translation of the award citation I ran through BabelFish's delightful online translator in my previous post:)
In the award-winning book "Mother's Cancer", translated by Wolfgang J. Fuchs in stylistic perfection, Brian Fies documents, diary-like, the problems in coping with his mother's getting cancer: This results in a moving non-fiction comic book which appropriately uses the medium for a sensitive treatment of the topic in an up-to-date format.
(And an explanation of "nut/mother":)
Incidentally, the translation of Mutter as "nut/mother" just shows an ambiguity of langauge that is also present in English. While nut means edible nut, crazy person, and the nut you screw on a bolt, in German "Mutter" in addition to meaning mother also is the word used to described the nut you screw on a bolt....
Wolfgang also described the Jugendliteraturpreis "trophy" to me, a 15-pound bronze statue of author Michael Ende's character Momo. A moment's googling turned up the picture below of a Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis from 2005 that fits his description. What a fine work of art and honor to receive! Many thanks again to Wolfgang for his work and his gracious note.