Skip to main content

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation

Bookshelf

About the Prize

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation will be awarded annually to the best eligible work of fiction, poetry or literary non-fiction, or work of fiction for children or young adults written by a woman, translated into English by a female or male translator, and published by a UK or Irish publisher. The £1,000 prize is divided between the writer and her translator(s), with each contributor receiving an equal share. In cases where the writer is no longer living, the translator will receive all of the prize money. The submission period for the 2018 prize will open in spring 2018.

The prize launched in 2017 with the aim of addressing the gender imbalance in translated literature and increasing the number of international women’s voices accessible by a British and Irish readership. A recent report by Nielsen Book showed that translated literary fiction makes up only 3.5% of the literary fiction titles published in the UK, but accounts for 7% of the volume of sales. If translated literature as a whole is underrepresented on the British book market, then women’s voices in translation are even more peripheral. The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, for example, was awarded 21 times, but was won by a woman only twice.

In the words of Maureen Freely, current President of English PEN and Head of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick: "We've come a long way with the championing of world literature over the past decade, welcoming in a multiplicity of voices which have gone on to enrich us all. In the same period, however, we've noticed that it is markedly more difficult for women to make it into English translation. This prize offers us an opportunity to welcome in the voices and perspectives we've missed thus far."

Rules and How to Enter

The submission period for the 2018 prize will open in spring 2018.

Any queries can be addressed to Tom Frew in the university press office at A.T.Frew@warwick.ac.uk or to Chantal Wright, who coordinates the prize, at womenintranslation@warwick.ac.uk.

Women in Translation News

The inaugural winner of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation was announced at an event in the Warwick Arts Centre on Wednesday 15 November, 2017. The winning title was Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, translated from German by Susan Bernofsky, published by Portobello Books.

Read the press releases about the 2017 shortlist and longlist.

We are making the list of all eligible entries available for use by researchers, translators, publishers and bookshops and to promote the cause of women in translation more generally.

Read our press release about the launch of the prize in English, Catalan, Chinese, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.

Women in Translation Events and Publications

Translation Slam! With Spanish into English translators Sophie Hughes and Rosalind Harvey and Mexican writer Laia Jufresa, Tuesday 21 November, 7-8.15 p.m., Warwick Books, 24 Market Place, Warwick, CV34 4SL. Tel.: 01926 499939. E-mail: translation@warwick.ac.uk

Pop-up International Women's Literature Reading Group With novelist Sarah Moss and translator Chantal Wright. Wednesday 22 November, 7-8.15 p.m., Warwick Books, 24 Market Place, Warwick, CV34 4SL. Tel.: 01926 499939. E-mail: translation@warwick.ac.uk

In the News

Here are some of the articles and blog posts that have drawn attention to the gender imbalance in literature translated into English over the last few years:

How English readers miss out on foreign women writers by Sian Cain

10 female translators on the work that inspires them. Interviews by Alison Flood.

Where are the women in translation? by Alison Anderson

Briefing notes: Where are the women in translation? by Sophie Mayer

Kamila Shamsie: Let's have a year of publishing only women - a provocation

And Other Stories to take part in Year of Publishing Women 2018

A women's prize for translated books by Katy Derbyshire

Why we need a prize for women in translation by Susan Bernofsky

And the prize for women in Arabic translation goes to ... no one? by Elisabeth Jaquette

Women in translation, part I: Fourteen countries by Chad Post

Do you have a women in translation event or news item to publicise? If so, please drop us a line at womenintranslation@warwick.ac.uk.

And a few words of thanks ...

The literary translation community were instrumental in raising awareness of the gender imbalance in translated literature and in arguing the case for this prize. The prize committee would like to offer its particular thanks to Meytal Radzinski, who created Women in Translation month, and Joanna Walsh, Katy Derbyshire and Rachel McNicholl, without whom this prize would not have come into being. And Alison Anderson kick-started it all with a Words Without Borders article which you can read here. VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and Chad Post at Three Percent are owed a debt of gratitude for the practical work of awareness-raising. Thanks also go to Nick Cherryman, Caroline Parker and Jami Rogers for their administrative support, and to Simon Gilson, Chair of the Arts Faculty at Warwick, and Alison Ribeiro de Menezes, Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Warwick, who understood the importance of this initiative. And last but not least, this year's judges: Amanda Hopkinson, Boyd Tonkin and Susan Bassnett.

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.

Susan Bassnett, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature