ross benjamin

Ross Benjamin is a
translator of German-language literature and a writer
living in Nyack, New York.

Ross Benjamin PhotoHis translations include Friedrich Hölderlin’s Hyperion (Archipelago Books, 2008), Kevin Vennemann’s Close to Jedenew (Melville House, 2008),  Joseph Roth's Job (Archipelago, 2010), Clemens J. Setz's Indigo (Liveright/Norton, 2014), and Daniel Kehlmann's You Should Have Left (Pantheon, 2017) and Tyll (Pantheon, 2020). He is currently at work on a translation of  Franz Kafka's complete Diariesto be published by Schocken Books. He is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow

His translation of Tyll has been shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize. He was awarded the 2010 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for his rendering of Michael Maar's Speak, Nabokov (Verso Books, 2009), a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship to translate Clemens J. Setz's The Frequencies, and a commendation from the judges of the 2012 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of Thomas Pletzinger's Funeral for a Dog (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011). His literary criticism has appeared in The Times Literary SupplementBookforumThe Nation, and other publications. He was a 2003–2004 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and is a graduate of Vassar College.  

Praise for translation of Tyll (Pantheon, 2020)


"Kehlmann's shrewd translator, Ross Benjamin, vigorously grasps the offered challenges." –James Wood, The New Yorker

"An impeccable English translation by Ross Benjamin." –The New York Times Book Review

"Thank goodness Ross Benjamin (who also Englished Kehlmann's 2016 novella You Should Have Left, soon to be a film with Kevin Bacon) got the translation gig. He's a comic virtuoso, aping the clotted complexities of court etiquette, there applying nursery words to convey the narrowness of peasant life, and hitting now and again on rhythms that prove hilarious almost regardless of their content."  –The Times (UK)

"German-language novelist Kehlmann, like Tyll, is a trickster and his cheekiness is well served by Ross Benjamin's fluid, stylish translation." –The Washington Post

"I will have to trust German critics on the quality of the original publication's writing, but I can say the English in Ross Benjamin's translation is fluent and clever. The jesters and traveling players of Tyll sometimes declaim in rhyme and pun; as far as I can tell, Benjamin maintains the sense without losing the wordplay." –

"It’s an episodic and nonlinear approach, and Ross Benjamin’s translation gives a clarity to the individual voices that render their stories — tragedies, for the most part — profoundly humane." –The Boston Globe

"The narrative moves from myth to historical novel to ballad and back, and Ross Benjamin's translation follows it faithfully."  –The Spectator

"In this robust, flavourful translation by Ross Benjamin, Kehlmann often matches the visceral quality of [Günter] Grass's prose. He has, though, a genial lightness all his own." –The Financial Times 

"Kehlmann's prose (flawlessly translated by Ross Benjamin) is economical and evocative." –The  Sydney Morning Herald