As part of the ‘Think German’ initiative organized by the German Embassy and others, a competition was held in June 2010 at Oxford to encourage A-Level students to develop their interest in German literature and particularly in Kafka. The competition was organized by Professor Katrin Kohl and supported by the Oxford Kafka Research Centre with the aid of a generous donation from the journal German Life and Letters.
Prizes including copies of Kafka’s short stories were awarded for the best translations of Kafka stories (Die Sorge des Hausvaters or Die Prüfung); for the best essay on a Kafka story (In der Strafkolonie or Ein Bericht für eine Akademie); and for the best creative response to a Kafka story (Eine Kreuzung or Ein Kommentar (Gib’s auf!). The number and quality of entries was gratifying and the judges therefore awarded 12 prizes overall.
A prize-giving ceremony was held in the Bodleian Library on 20 October 2010, along with a reception. Ms Margaret Czepiel of the Department of Western Manuscripts kindly arranged a small exhibition of Kafka’s manuscripts, including the stories that featured in the competition.
The prizes were awarded by Mr Michael Steiner, Kafka’s great-nephew, who also recounted how Kafka’s manuscripts had been taken to Oxford by the late Malcolm Pasley.
The German Department of the University of Oxford, the Oxford Kafka Research Centre and the editors of German Life and Letters would like to congratulate the winners and thank all the entrants for submitting their work, which was very enjoyable to read.
It was pleasing to learn that many of the winners were intending to read Modern Languages at university.