Der neue Bereich unseres Portals macht es sich zum Anliegen, die internationalen Literaturszenen Berlins zu kartographieren, die handelnden Personen und ihre Schauplätze sichtbar und zugänglich zu machen. 
Die Entstehung der Rubrik wurde durch eine Förderung des Hauptstadtkulturfonds ermöglicht. 

Will Firth


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Born: 1965
Birthplace: Newcastle
Country of birth: Australia
Lives in: Berlin, Pankow

Source language: Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Russian, Esperanto
Target language: English (and occasionally German)
Working language: -


Will Firth was born in Newcastle, Australia, in 1965. As a literary translator, he focuses on contemporary prose writing from the Serbo-Croatian speaking countries and Macedonia. He graduated in German and Russian (with Serbo-Croatian as a minor) from the Australian National University in Canberra. He won a scholarship to read South Slavic studies at the University of Zagreb in 1988-89 and spent a further postgraduate year at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow in 1989-90. Since 1990 he has been living in Germany, where he works as a freelance translator of literature and the humanities. He translates from Russian, Macedonian and all variants of Serbo-Croatian into English, occasionally into German. In 2005-07 he worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Firth is an active unionist and a member of professional associations of translators in Germany (VdÜ) and Britain (Translators Association).

6 Questions

What brought you to Berlin? Love? World politics? Or was it a coincidence?

Love, geopolitics AND coincidence: I met my partner in 1990 during a postgraduate year in the Soviet Union. She comes from Dresden but loves Berlin. I followed her back to Berlin and basically got stuck here.

What do you love about Berlin?

I wouldn't say I love the city. But it's home.

What do you miss in Berlin?

Peace and quiet. A bit more topography.

What is your favorite spot in Berlin?

Der Weiße See.

Would you say you are a different person in Berlin? A different translator? And if yes, in what way?

No, I'm the same person, but I don't think I'd be able to make a living as a literary translator in Australia. I greatly appreciate the vocational and social-welfare infrastructure in Berlin/Germany/Europe.

Which existing literary work do you wish you had written?

Others can do the writing. I translate.


Shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize in 2015 with Aleksandar Gatalica’s The Great War.

Translator residencies in Britain (1997), Serbia (2015), Croatia (2017) and Montenegro (2018).

Three grants from the German Translators' Fund (2008, 2010 and 2012).


Translated publications

"A Novel of London", Miloš Crnjanski

Diálogos/New Orleans, 2020 Novel

"Mothers and Daughters", Vedrana Rudan

Dalkey Archive Press/Victoria, 2018 Novel

"Quiet Flows the Una", Faruk Šehić

Istros Books/London, 2016 Novel

"Homunculus", Aleksandar Prokopiev

Istros Books/London, 2015 Fairy tales

"The Great War", Aleksandar Gatalica

Istros Books/London, 2014 Novel

"Ekaterini", Marija Knežević

Istros Books/London, 2013 Novel

"The Son", Andrej Nikolaidis

Istros Books/London, 2013 Novel

"The Sunrise in My Dream", Ivan Trposki

Macedonian Literary Association “Grigor Prlichev”/Sydney, 2013 Poetry

"Stolen Thoughts", Dušan Ristevski

Macedonian Literary Association “Grigor Prlichev”/Sydney, 2011 Poetry

"Das Buch der Mutter", Luan Starova

Wieser Verlag/Klagenfurt, 2010 Novel

"Der große Koffer", Ivan Dodovski

Edition Erata/Leipzig, 2008 Short stories

"A Head Full of Joy", Ognjen Spahić

Dalkey Archive Press/Victoria, 2018 Short stories

"Journey to Russia", Miroslav Krleža

Sandorf/Zagreb, 2017 Literary travelogue

"Das achte Weltwunder", Jordan Plevneš

Leipziger Literaturverlag/Leipzig, 2015 Novel

"Till Kingdom Come", Andrej Nikolaidis

Istros Books/London, 2015 Novel

"A Handful of Sand", Marinko Koščec

Istros Books/London, 2013 Novel

"Our Man in Iraq", Robert Perišić

Black Balloon Publishing/New York, 2013 Novel

"The Storm in the Still Life", Ivan B. Vodopija

Ex Libris/Zagreb, 2013 Epistolary novel

"Hansen's Children", Ognjen Spahić

Istros Books/London, 2011 Novel

"The Coming", Andrej Nikolaidis

Istros Books/London, 2011 Novel

"Pirey", Petre M. Andreevski

Pollitecon Publications/Sydney, 2009 Novel

"Anya's Diary", Dimitar Baševski

Slovo/Skopje, 2007 Children's novel