UK Translation Awards: Society of Authors Announces Eight Shortlists for 2019

In News by Porter Anderson

Administered by the UK’s Society of Authors, the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is one of eight translation awards that will have their winners named in London on February 12.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize: £3,000

Among several awards shortlists announced on Sunday (December 1) by the Society of Authors in London, the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation has a particularly strong selection of titles:

  • Marilyn Booth for her translation of Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Sandstone Press), which won the Booker International Prize in May
  • Humphrey Davies for his translation of My Name is Adam: Children of the Ghetto, Volume 1 by Elias Khoury (MacLehose), shortlisted in its Arabic original in 2017 for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction
  • Leri Price for the translation to English of Death is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa (Faber & Faber), which was a finalist for the US National Book Awards
  • Jonathan Wright for his translation of Jokes for the Gunman by Mazen Maarouf (Granta Books)

This year’s judges for this competition are Ghazi Gheblawi, Dr Jan Fortune, Abla Oudeh, and Catherine Taylor, and the Banipal Prize carries a purse of £3,000 (US$3,879) for translation of full-length Arabic works.

The Banipal is one of several translation prizes the society administers, with winners to be announced in this cycle on February 12 at the British Library Knowledge Centre.

All told, 35 works translated into English are in contention for prizes totaling nearly £20,000 (US$25,868). The works included in this year’s shortlists are translated from German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Dutch, and Hebrew.

Here are the other translation prize shortlists announced for the current cycle under the Society of Authors’ administration.

The Schlegel-Tieck Prize: £3,000

The Schlegel-Tieck Prize honors translations into English of full-length German works. Judges for this one are Caroline Summers and Emily Jeremiah, and the award is sponsored by the Goethe-Institut.

  • Margot Bettauer Dembo for a translation of The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers (Virago Press)
  • Katy Derbyshire for a translation of Gentleman Jack by Angela Steidele (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Iain Galbraith for a translation of River by Esther Kinsky (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • Karen Leeder for a translation of Thick of It by Ulrike Almut Sandig (Seagull Books)
  • Simon Pare for a translation of The Flying Mountain by Christoph Ransmayr (Seagull Books)
  • Damion Searls for a translation of Anniversaries: From Year in the Life of Cresspahl by Uwe Johnson (New York Review Books)
The Scott Moncrieff Prize: £1,000

With a purse of £1,000 (US$1.293), the Scott Moncrief Prize is awarded to translations into English of full-length French works, this year judged by Susan Harrow and Sudhir Hazareesingh.

  • Linda Coverdale for a translation of The Old Slave and the Mastiff by Patrick Chamoiseau (Dialogue Books)
  • Penny Hueston for a translation of Our Life in the Forest by Marie Darrieussecq (Text Publishing)
  • Adriana Hunter for a translation of Women at Sea by Catherine Poulain (Jonathan Cape)
  • Tina Kover for a translation of Disoriental by Négar Djavadi (Europa Editions)
  • Geoffrey Strachan for a translation of Tropic of Violence by Nathacha Appanah (MacLehose Press)
  • David Warriner for a translation of We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard (Orenda Books)

The Scott Moncrieff is sponsored by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, ALCS and the Society of Authors.

The TA First Translation Prize: £2,000

With its £2,000 (US$2,586) prize money split between translator and editor, the TA First Translation Prize honors a debut literary translation into English. It’s judged this year by its founder, Daniel Hahn, with Ellie Steel and Shaun Whiteside.

  • Sarah Booker and editor Lauren Rosemary Hook for a translation of The Iliac Crest by Cristina Rivera Garza (And Other Stories). Translated from Spanish
  • Natascha Brice and editor Jeremy Tiang for a translation of Lonely Face by Yeng Pway Ngon (Balestier Press). Translated from Chinese (Singapore)
  • Morgan Giles and editor Saba Ahmed for a translation of Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri (Tilted Axis Press). Translated from Japanese
  • Ellen Jones and editors Fionn Petch and Carolina Orloff for a translation of Trout, Belly Up by Rodrigo Fuentes (Charco Press). Translated from Spanish
  • William Spence and editor Tomasz Hoskins for a translation of The Promise: Love and Loss in Modern China by XinRan Xue (I. B. Tauris). Translated from Mandarin
  • Charlotte Whittle and editor Bella Bosworth for a translation of People in the Room by Norah Langé (And Other Stories). Translated from Spanish

With Hahn, the prize is sponsored by the British Council.

The Premio Valle Inclán Prize: £2,000

With sponsorship of this £2,000 (US$2,586) award from the ALCS and the Society of Authors, the Premio Valle Inclán Prize honors translations into English of full-length Spanish-language works, and is judged by Peter bush and Laura Lonsdale.

  • Nick Caistor for a translation of Springtime in a Broken Mirror by Mario Benedetti (Penguin Classics)
  • Charlotte Coombe for a translation of Fish Soup by Margarita García Robayo (Charco Press)
  • William Gregory for a translation of The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Plays by Borja Ortiz de Gondra, Blanca Doménech, Víctor Sánchez Rodríguez, Vanessa Montfort, and Julio Escalada (Oberon Books)
  • Sophie Hughes for a translation of The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zeran (And Other Stories)
  • Jessica Sequeira for a translation of Land of Smoke by Sara Gallardo (Pushkin Press)
The Vondel Prize: €5,000

With its €5,000 (US$5,520) purse sponsored by the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the Vondel is presented biennially for translation into English of a full-length Dutch-language work. It’s judged this year by David Colmer, Jane Draycott, and Anthony Paul.

  • David Doherty for a translation of Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin (MacLehose Press)
  • Antoinette Fawcett for a translation of Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer (Pushkin Press)
  • Nancy Forest-Flier for a translation of The Story of Shit by Midas Dekkers (Text Publishing)
  • Michele Hutchison for a translation of Stage Four by Sander Kollaard (Amazon Crossing)
The TLS-Risa Domb/Porjes Prize: £2,000

The TLS-Risa Domb/Porjes Prize‘s £2,000 (US$2,586) purse is sponsored by the Porjes Trust and administered by the Jewish Book Council in association with the Society of Authors and the Times Literary Supplement. It’s awarded triennially and recognizes translation into English of a full-length work of either fiction or nonfiction in Hebrew. This cycle’s judges are Boyd Tonkin, Tsila Ratner, and Yaron Peleg.

  • Peter C. Appleaum for a translation of Hell on Earth by Avigdor Hameiri (Wayne State University Press)
  • Jessica Cohen for a translation of A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman (Vintage), the 2017 Booker International winner
  • Nicholas de Lange for a translation of Judas by Amos Oz (Vintage)
  • Rachel Tzvia Back for a translation of On the Surface of Silence by Lea Goldberg (Hebrew Union College Press)

All told, the society handles 10 translation awards, not all of which are given annually. This year, the biennial Goethe-Institut Award for New Translation will be awarded for the best translation of an extract from Die Fahrt (The Journey) by Sibylle Berg from German into English.

More information on the full round of translation prizes administered by the society is here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on translation is here. More from us on publishing and book awards programs is here, and more on the UK market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.