University of Warwick announces Prize for Women in Translation

The University of Warwick (Coventry, UK) has announced that will award its first “Prize for Women in Translation” in November 2017. Translated literature has long been neglected by British publishers, particularly in comparison to the volume of translated literature available on other European markets (much of it from English). However, this does not appear to reflect the demand for translated literature in the UK. Nielsen Book recently published figures showing that only 3.5% of the works of literary fiction published in the UK are translations, but that translations make up 7% of literary sales.

If translated literature occupies but a small part of the British book market, translated works by women are even more neglected. The prize aims to raise awareness and help address the lack of translated literature written by women published and available in the UK and Ireland. The fact that the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was only awarded to a woman twice between 1990-2015 demonstrates this. When discussing the award, Professor Maureen Freely, (Head of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick and President of English PEN) spoke of the growth of “world literature” on the UK market, but emphasised that “it is markedly more difficult for women to make it into English translation.”

The prize will be awarded annually to a work of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction or fiction for children or young adults written by a female author and translated into English by a male or female translator. The prize money of £1000 will be split equally between author and translator, or, if the original author is no longer living, to the translator. The judging panel is made up of Boyd Tonkin (Senior Writer and columnist at The Independent newspaper), Amanda Hopkinson (literary translator and scholar) and Susan Bassnett (Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick). Professor Bassnett had the following to say: “This prize is a rallying call to translators and publishers everywhere. There are dozens of fine women writers waiting to be translated – so let’s see more of them in our bookshops.” It is difficult to disagree with this sentiment.


Submissions open on 3 April 2017. Further details about the prize and how to enter can be found here.


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