Professor Teeuw Awards 2015 – ‘In Translation’

This year, the board published its final open call for nominations for the Professor Teeuw Award, as the Foundation’s fund is nearing depletion. It was done with the confident belief that Indonesian-Dutch cultural exchange will continue to flourish.

The 2015 theme for the Award, ‘In Translation’, referred to Professor Teeuw’s career-long involvement with translation in its broadest sense. His universally acclaimed Indonesian-Dutch dictionary, first published in 1990 by KITLV Press and still in print at Brill Publishers, epitomises his work in this field.

2015 Laureates: Hedi Hinzler and John McGlynn
The Professor Teeuw Award 2015 was awarded jointly to anthropologist and archaeologist Hedi Hinzler and to the Jakarta based translator, editor and publisher John McGlynn. The Foundation recognised the two for the significant role they have both played in advancing the appreciation of Indonesian culture and intercultural understanding. They have brought a wide range of cultural creations and interpretations to an international audience.

The Awards were presented to the laureates at the Award ceremony on Thursday 27 August 2015 at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in Jakarta.

Hedi Hinzler, anthropologist and archeologist
For more than twenty-five years, the Dutch recipient of the Professor Teeuw Award 2015 Hedi Hinzler (1942) has made countless aspects of Indonesian culture accessible to both Indonesian and Dutch publics. To achieve this, she has worked diligently and passionately, often at her own expense. Trained as an archaeologist and anthropologist at Leiden University, Hinzler has initiated and contributed to various extensive projects aimed at documenting and preserving parts of Indonesian cultural heritage, in particular Balinese. Her work on Javanese and Balinese wayang gained her worldwide recognition as an authority in this field. With the same enthusiasm, she has devoted her time to the preservation and study of Balinese manuscripts on lontar palm leaves. But Hinzler is more than an impressive scholar; she actively ‘translates’ scholarly observations into a variety of formats that can be enjoyed by the wider public. For instance, her collaboration with and promotion in the Netherlands of the Javanese master puppet maker and dalang Ki Ledjar Soebroto has acquainted a Dutch audience with the unique and captivating puppets of this craftsman. In her role as fellow researcher, professor, advisor to museums and as a board member of cultural organisations in both the Netherlands and Indonesia, she has generously shared and continues to share her research data and knowledge. She is currently working on a catalogue of the renowned (late) Walter Angst collection (Überlingen, Germany). This unique collection of wayang puppets, associated artefacts and texts offers the world’s most comprehensive picture of the wayang tradition. However, the collection is in danger of becoming dispersed. Hinzler has made an international appeal for the preservation of the collection and for the establishment of a Walter Angst Foundation to support research on the collection.


John McGlynn, translator, editor and publisher
John McGlynn (1952) is a pioneer of cultural translation between Indonesia and the wider world, (the Netherlands included), and has been awarded the Professor Teeuw Award 2015 by the Indonesian jury for multiple reasons. In the most direct link to the theme of translation, McGlynn is an acknowledged leading translator of Indonesian literature and makes Indonesian prose and poetry accessible to a broader audience. Originally from Wisconsin, USA, McGlynn has lived in Jakarta almost continually since 1976. He trained in Southeast Asian Studies and Indonesian Literature and has worked for more than 30 years for the Lontar Foundation which he established in 1987 with the Indonesian writers Goenawan Mohamad, Sapardi Djoko Damono, Umar Kayam and Subagio Sastrowardoyo. Since its establishment the Lontar Foundation has been acclaimed for its efforts in selecting, translating, preserving, and promoting Indonesian literature. McGlynn has displayed a lifelong commitment and dedication to Lontar’s activities and its survival. The scope of his work for Lontar is broad and varied in both time frame and geographical scope. His interests range from classics to contemporary work, and touch on topics whose roots lie across the whole length of the archipelago. According to the Indonesian jury, a parallel can be found in the work and spirit of both McGlynn and Professor Teeuw. As with Professor Teeuw, McGlynn is not an author, but both have nonetheless been exceptionally influential scholars of Indonesian literature as well as champions for Indonesian literature, both prose and poetry.


To mark this last award the Teeuw Foundation has published a booklet that offers a short history of the Teeuw Award and written portraits of all the laureates of the last twenty-five years: Professor Teeuw Foundation 1991-2015: Awarding the creative and scholarly in the cultural exchange between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

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