Bill Johnston (translator)

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Bill Johnston (born 1960) is a prolific Polish language literary translator[1] and Professor of comparative literature at Indiana University. His work has helped to expose English-speaking readers to classic and contemporary Polish poetry and fiction. In 2008 he received the Found in Translation Award for his translation of new poems by Tadeusz Różewicz;[2] this book was also a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Poetry Award.

In 1999, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship for Poetry (Translation) for Balladina by Juliusz Słowacki, and in 2005 he received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for a translation of The Coming Spring by Stefan Żeromski. He is also a recipient of the Amicus Poloniae award, presented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland (2003), the Diploma of the Polish Foreign Ministry (2004), and the Officer's Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2012) for outstanding contribution to the promotion of the Polish culture and language in the U.S., as well as the development of Polish-American cultural cooperation. In 2005, his translation of Magdalena Tulli’s Dreams and Stones won the Translation Award of AATSEEL (American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages). His translation of Stone Upon Stone by Wiesław Myśliwski won the 2012 PEN Translation Prize, the 2012 Best Translated Book Award and the AATSEEL Book Award for Best Literary Translation into English.

Johnston read Modern Languages at the University of Oxford (University College) and graduated in 1982. He earned his Ph.D in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.



Short Pieces[edit]

Major Awards & Honors[edit]


  1. ^ New horizon. Bicentennial Pub. Corp. 2000. p. 14.
  2. ^ "First Found in Translation Award Goes to Bill Johnston". Poets & Writers. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2011.