Translator and academic Naomi Morgan awarded Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres

On 26 January 2015, Ambassador Barbier awarded South African translator and academic Naomi Morgan "Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres".

Naomi Morgan
Translator and academic Naomi Morgan awarded Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres

About Naomi Morgan
Morgan is based at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein where she is the head of the French section at the Department of Afrikaans, Dutch, German and French. She supervises the Masters and PhD studies of numerous students across the country. Her career spans more than 30 years.

Most recently, she translated into Afrikaans ‘Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran’, a novel by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, originally published in French, in 2001. The launch took place on December 9 2014. Set in Paris in the 1960s, the book relates the journey of thirteen-year-old Moses who lives in the shadow of his less-than loving father. When he is caught stealing from wise old shopkeeper Monsieur Ibrahim, he discovers an unlikely friend. Together they embark on a journey that takes them from the streets of Paris to the whirling dervishes of the Golden Crescent.

In 2012, Prof. Morgan received accolades for the translation of ‘Oscar and the Lady in Pink’ (‘Oskar en die Pienk Tannie’), also written by Schmitt.
She also translated Afrikaans songs into French that led to the release of AfriFrans – a CD with a collection of Afrikaans songs translated into and performed in French.
She has also translated into Afrikaans the songs of musicians Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel.
In 2013, former French Minister of Arts and Culture, Aurélie Filippetti, decided to bestow this prestigious award on Morgan.

About the Order of Arts and Letters
The Order of Arts and Letters is a French decoration of honour established in 1957 and given by the French ministry of Culture. The award is given to recognise significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields, in France and abroad.

There are three levels: knight, officer and commander.

South Africans who have been awarded the order : Johnny Clegg (1991), William Kentridge (2013) and Ramadan Suleman (2014).