Trent Walker

Assistant Professor Trent Walker has been awarded the Khyentse Foundation 2024 Prize for Outstanding Translation for his monograph Until Nirvana’s Time: Buddhist Songs from Cambodia (Shambhala Publications, 2022). The official press release notes: “KF’s five-member selection committee unanimously approved Professor Natalie Gummer’s nominationof Until Nirvana’s Time for this year’s award. Of her choice, Dr. Gummer writes: ‘Until Nirvana’s Time is a groundbreaking translation. Not only does it make a fascinating part of Cambodian Buddhist literature widely available for the first time in English, but it also renders the vocal qualities of these songs, in consonance with their composition and use, and offers rich context for their Buddhist background and their ritual recitation. Trent Walker sets a new standard for translations that aim to capture the power of performative texts.’” For the full press release, click here

When asked about his motivation for translation, which we see play out in the above work, Trent explained: “In comparison to East Asia or even South Asia, relatively few works of Southeast Asian literature are available in English translation. This is especially the case for Buddhist poetry and other religious genres from the medieval and early modern periods, most of which is only available in traditional manuscripts. My main motivation for translation is to open new spheres for discussion and inquiry, both in the classroom and for research. In the case of Cambodian literature in particular, I am committed to making Khmer-language literature available in English for readers in the diaspora who wish to connect to this dimension of their heritage.” 

Congratulations from all of us, Trent!