Translator: Julia Sherwood and Peter Sherwood
UK publisher: Jantar Publishing Limited
Original language: Slovak
Peter Frankopan, EBRD Literature Prize judge: “A series of short stories that explore the themes of identity and belonging and confront the meaning of reality. This is Central European existential angst at its best, perfectly captured by the Sherwoods’ outstanding translation from the Slovak.”
Balla, who goes only by his surname, was born in 1967 in Nove Zamky in Slovakia. A trained economist and a civil servant by day, he started publishing short stories in 1992. He has written seven collections of short stories and two novellas. His prose has been compared to Kafka’s. In the Name of the Father was recognised by the Anasoft Litera prize for Slovak fiction in 2012.
Julia Sherwood was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now the Slovak Republic). After studying English and Slavonic languages and literature in Cologne, London and Munich she has settled in the UK. Since 2008 she has been working as a freelance translator from Slovak, Czech, Polish, Russian and German into English (with Peter Sherwood), as well as into Slovak. She is editor-at-large for Slovakia for Asymptote, the international online literary journal. She has also spent more than 20 years working in the NGO sector.
Peter Sherwood studied Hungarian and linguistics in the University of London before being appointed, in 1972, to a lectureship in Hungarian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (now part of University College London). From 2008 until his retirement in 2014 he was László Birinyi, Sr., Distinguished Professor of Hungarian Language and Culture in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has received a number of awards for contribution to Hungarian studies. He lives in London.