The Society of Authors: 2023 Translation Prize Winners

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The Society of Authors names its 2023 winning translators of work from Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, and Spanish.

Translator Nicholas Benson accepts the £2,000 John Florio Prize on behalf of himself and his co-translator Elena Coda from the Society of Authors’ Robin Law for their work on ‘My Karst and My City, and Other Essays’ by Scipio Slataper from the University of Toronto Press. Image: Society of Authors

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

A New Japanese Translation Award Is Opened
Announced on Wednesday (February 8), the Society of Authors’ Translation Prizes are a suite of eight awards that are part of the broader portfolio of contests managed by the society. Our coverage of last year’s awards is here, the 2021 awards are here, and so on.

Having had its first in-person presentation event since February 2020 because of the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and was held at the British Library.

We’ll be able to embed a video from the event for you at the end of this article.

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that the Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is one of the eight honors in this basket, and always prefers to announce its winner itself, well before the others are announced by the society.

You can see in our coverage the award made for that one on January 12, honoring both translator Robin Moger and the late Humphrey Davies. Moger was been chosen for his translation of Slipping (Two Lines Press, 2918) by Egyptian Mohamed Kheir. And Davies was honored posthumously for his translation of The Men Who Swallowed the Sun (American University in Cairo/Hoopoe Books) by the Egyptian author Hamdi Abu Golayyel.

The full group of eight awards this year features translation not only from Arabic, of course, but also from French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, and Spanish.

The total purse split among these various awards this year is £15,000 (US$18,271)

The 2023 Translation Prize Winners

Because these awards quickly become confusing, even to those who follow them annually, a quick listing simply of the eight honors can be helpful:

  • The TA First Translation Prize for debut translation from any language
  • The John Florio Prize for translation from Italian
  • The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Translation from Arabic
  • The Premio Valle Inclán for translation from Spanish
  • The Schlegel-Tieck Prize for translation from German
  • The Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation from French
  • TLS Risa-Domb Porjes Prize for translation from Hebrew
  • New: The Great British Sasakawa Foundation Prize for translation from Japanese

TA First Translation Prize

This is the honor (£2,000 / US$2,436) for a debut literary translation into English and published in the United Kingdom. It’s always of special interest for Publishing Perspectives readers because it’s one of the programs started with seed money from the highly regarded author and translator Daniel Hahn. Sponsored by Hahn and the British Council, this is the one that has the special grace to recognize both translator and editor, a rarity amid all these publishing contests.

Things I Didn’t Throw Out (Daunt Publishing), translated from Polish
Translator Marta Dziurosz and editors Željka Marošević and Sophie Missing are honored for their work on Marcin Wicha’s book. The translator’s name does not appear to be included on the cover of this book.

The John Florio Prize 

This is a biennial award of £2,000 / US@2,436) for translations into English of full-length Italian works.

My Karst and My City, and Other Essays by Scipio Slataper (University of Toronto Press), translated from Italian

Nicholas Benson and Elena Coda are the winning translators. Both translators are credited on the cover of the book, and Coda is credited for her introduction and notes on the work.

The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Translation From Arabic

Please see our standalone story on this one here.

The Premio Valle Inclán

This is an annual prize, again of £2,000 / US@2,436) for translation of full-length Spanish works.

Joseph Zárate’s Wars of the Interior is the winning book from Granta.

Annie McDermott is the winning translator of this book.
McDermott does not appear to be credited on the cover.

The Schlegel-Tieck Prize

The Schlegel-Tieck Prize is given annually for translation from full-length work originally in German.

It carries a purse of £3,000 (US$3,654).

Where You Come From by Saša Stanišić is the winner (Penguin Random House UK / Jonathan Cape)

Damion Searls is the winning translator .
Searls does not appear to be credited on the cover.
Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that this book won the German Book Prize in 2019, carrying a purse of €25,000 (US$26,955).

The Scott Moncrieff Prize

The Scott Moncrieff Prize annually awards £1,000 (US$1,217) to a translation into English from French in a full-length work.

Sarah Ardizzone is the winning translator of the winning book, Men Don’t Cry by Faïza Guène, published by Cassava Republic Press. Ardizzone is credited on the cover of the book.

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that Cassava Republic Press is an independent house founded originally in Abuja by Bibi Bakare-Yusuf. Several years ago, Bakare-Yusuf added a London office to the company.

TLS Risa-Domb Porjes Prize

The TLS Risa-Domb Porjes Prize carries a purse of £2,500 (US$3,044) for a translation from Hebrew into English of a work of fiction or nonfiction.

Linda Yechiel is the winner of this year’s honor, for her translation of House on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon (Atlantic Books, Allen & Unwin).

The Great British Sasakawa Foundation Prize

Although listed in the society’s material, the Great British Sasakawa Foundation Prize is as yet unawarded. This new honor is intended in the future to go to a full-length work originally written in Japanese.

The prize is expected to carry a purse of £3,000 (US$3,654). It’s unclear from information in the Society of Authors’ descriptive material how frequently this honor is to be awarded. The prize is to be backed by, of course, the Great British Sasakawa Foundation in England.

Below is video from the 2023 Translation Awards ceremony at the British Library.

More from Publishing Perspectives on translation is here. More from us on publishing and book awards programs is here, more on the Society of Authors is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s market is here.

More on the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic–which has prevented an in-person presentation of these awards since 2020–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.