Dumitru Tsepeneag Wins Major Italian Prize
May, 2008 — On May 19, 2008 Romanian writer Dumitru Tsepeneag was awarded the Latin Union Prize for Romance-language literature. This prestigious award is granted once a year to a writer who serves to reflect the Latin Union’s goal of enhancing the cultural heritage of Romance-speaking countries.
The Prize is a cash award of €12,000, the equivalent of $24,000 in the United States, half of which is given to the prize-winner, with the other half primarily used to cover the costs of translation and publication of another work of fiction by the author.
This year, the Prize was awarded to Tsepeneag for the outstanding artistic quality of his novels, essays, and memoirs, as well as for his commitment to and defense of literary forms and artistic freedom of speech. As the leader of a literary movement opposed to the official doctrine, as a dissident in Ceausescu regime which forced him to lose his Romanian citizenship, and as an independent and provocative thinker who, during his exile in France, helped make Eastern European literature better known, Dumitru Tsepeneag combines, in his oeuvre, literary experimentation and socio-historical issues.
Dalkey Archive Press’s English translation of Tsepeneag’s critically acclaimed Vain Art of the Fugue in 2007 brought his innovative writing to English-speaking audiences for the first time. Upon its publication, Vain Art received wide acclaim. Bookforum called Tsepeneag “a burlesque Kafka, at once comical and ominous” and the Believer writes that “Tsepeneag expands the quarry of the human personality into something like its actual dimensions.”
Dalkey Archive will publish a second book by Tsepeneag—Pigeon Post—in December 2008.