Matthias Göritz, professor of practice of comparative literature, has won the 2022 International Pretnar Award from the Slovenian Book Agency and the Municipality of Velenje in Slovenia. The Pretnar Award recognizes efforts to bring Slovenian literature and culture abroad and comes with the honorary title of Ambassador of Slovenian Literature and Language.
A previous resident in Slovenia’s capital city of Ljubljana, Göritz still spends a few weeks in the country each year. He actively advocates for the publication of Slovenian authors in German and has translated and co-translated the work of many contemporary authors, including novelist Baris Pahor and poets Tomaž Šalamun and Aleš Šteger. He continues to arrange for new translations of contemporary authors with prestigious German publishing houses and organizes key events that allow Slovenian writers to connect with other artists in the German-speaking world.
Recently Göritz installed poetry vending machines — one in Austria and two in Germany — which distributed new German translations of Slovenian and other international authors to passers-by. Thanks to his efforts, Manuskripte, one of the widely read literary magazines in the German-speaking world, featured a new Slovenian poet in each issue for the last two years. Göritz wrote an introduction to the poets’ works for each issue.
Göritz’s work with Slovenian poetry culminates in his publication in spring 2023 of My Neighbor on the Cloud. Edited together with Amalija Maček and Aleš Šteger, the new collection will be the most comprehensive anthology of 20th- and 21st-century Slovenian poetry in German translations to date.
Göritz is also well-known in Slovenia for his poetry and prose. Three of his novels have been translated into Slovenian (The brief dream of Jakob Voss, Dreamers and Sinners, and Parker), and last year a selection of his poetry was published under the title In Heaven it Rains, translated by Aleš Šteger.
“In the last decade, Slovenian literature has not had a better, more dedicated, and more effective ambassador to the German language,” the Slovenian Book Agency wrote in a press release. “Göritz is a high-profile literary personality who, with his knowledge, his texts, and his charisma, and above all with his tireless work in extremely difficult times, would so generously, impartially, and widely open the door for Slovenian authors to the German language and to the world.”