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UW Libraries Michael Biggins Recognized for Lifetime Achievement



UW Affiliate Professor; Slavic, Baltic, and East European Studies Librarian receives Trubar Award for lifetime achievement

January 6, 2020 – Michael Biggins, Affiliate Professor; Slavic, Baltic, and East European Studies Librarian for the University of Washington was recognized this week by Slovenia’s National and University Library (NUK) with the Trubar Award for distinguished lifetime contributions to preserve, translate and advance Slovenia’s written cultural heritage internationally. Two Trubar Awards were conferred, this year, to Biggins and Pavel Zdovc, a Slovenian linguist and lexicographer who was recognized for his role in establishing Slovene studies at the University of Vienna.

Michael Biggins
“Slovenia may be a small country geographically, but its literature is anything but small,” says Biggins.  “The country’s size, its centuries-long subjugated, colonial status, and the proclivity of Europe’s largest cultures - English, French, Italian, German and others - to favor only a few prominent foreign cultures as worthy of their attention and emulation led to Slovenia’s virtual obliteration, alongside many other vital, smaller European cultures, from the cultural map of the known world. And yet there has been phenomenal creative ferment at work in this small space for ages, and it deserves to be known.”


Biggins, who earned his PhD in Slavic languages and literatures in 1985 at the University of Kansas, began his study of Slovenian in 1980 and has become progressively more engaged in Slovenian studies, literary translation, and literary and cultural history ever since.  He is the translator of over twenty published book-length translations of major, critically acclaimed works of Slovene prose fiction and poetry into English.  He has served as UW’s Slavic, Baltic and East European studies librarian since 1994, and has taught advanced Russian language and translation and Slovenian language and literature as an affiliate professor in the UW Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures since 2001.

The Trubar Award was established in 2008 to recognize exceptional, lifelong contributions to the preservation and advancement of Slovenia’s written heritage at home and internationally and is conferred annually by Slovenia’s National Library on one or more individuals or organizations.  The award is named for Slovenia’s great Protestant reformer Primož Trubar (1508? - 1586), who first translated and published the New Testament Bible in Slovenian and was the first ever to codify the Slovenian standard language.

Contact Michael Biggins