Birkenhauer was chosen for the 2015 Voss Prize because of her linguistic precision in translating literary texts, her choice of words that is both sober and poetic, and in particular, her ability to replicate the complex Hebrew language in a German that is both sensitive and artistic. Her contributions to Hebrew poetry are particularly noteworthy. For example, she was able to create a compelling and haunting German language form for poems and prose texts by Dan Pagis, which she published in two volumes, Die Krone der Schöpfung in 1990 and An beiden Ufern der Zeit in 2003. The Johann Heinrich Voss Prize will be awarded during the spring meeting of the German Academy for Language and Poetry, which will take place in London from May 14 to 17, 2015.
Anne Birkenhauer was born in 1961 in Essen, Germany. She majored in Jewish studies and German studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Her career as a translator began in the 1980s. In 2010 she and the author David Grossman were jointly awarded the Albatross Prize for Literature, and in 2011 she was awarded the Jane Scatcherd Prize. Since 2011, along with the translator Gadi Goldberg, she has been directing a Hebrew-German workshop for translators that takes place regularly in Germany and Israel.
The August Wilhelm von Schlegel Visiting Professorship was set up in 2007 by the Deutsche Übersetzerfonds (German Translator Fund e.V.) and Freie Universität Berlin. It is the first chair devoted to the poetics of translation in German-speaking countries. Each year the visiting professorship is awarded to an experienced literary translator who teaches during the fall/winter semester at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature. Anne Birkenhauer is the eighth person to hold this chair, following Frank Günther, Burkhart Kroeber, Stefan Weidner, Susanne Lange, Olaf Kühl, Rosemarie Tietze, and Elisabeth Edl.