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Warwick announces shortlist for The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation

Coventry City of Culture 2021

Six titles have been shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, a new prize that aims to address the gender imbalance in translated literature and to increase the number of international women’s voices accessible by a British and Irish readership.

The 2017 prize is being judged by:

  • Boyd Tonkin, Special Adviser, Man Booker International Prize

  • Susan Bassnett, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick

  • Amanda Hopkinson, Visiting Professor in Literary Translation, City, University of London

The competition received a total of 58 eligible entries of which 16 titles made the initial longlist. The shortlist comprises a novel, a novella, a children’s book, a collection of poetry and a volume of short stories. The source languages represented are Polish and German, with two shortlisted titles apiece, as well as Irish and Russian. Portobello Books is the only publisher to have two titles on the shortlist, with Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg, translated by Eliza Marciniak, and Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, translated by Susan Bernofsky. Belarusian Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich is also among the longlistees, for Second-hand Time, translated by Bela Sheyavich.

The judges commented: “We are very happy at the quantity and quality of the submissions received for this inaugural prize. Insofar as this prize was intended to rectify a shortfall in the representation of women among translated writers, it has proved that a good range of writers is currently being translated.

“We hope that the prize will encourage publishers to be more serious about translating women writers. Without deliberately aiming to do so, our shortlist shows that there is much more to translation than is usually documented. Shifting borders in the east of Europe and the contraction of countries through history and geography was a real theme in the submissions for the prize, as was the experience of migration, and this is reflected in four of the six shortlisted titles.”

Dr Chantal Wright, the coordinator of the prize from the University of Warwick’s Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, commented: “The response to this year’s inaugural competition has been wonderful. We received many more submissions than we expected across an array of genres – even including a graphic novel – and from publishers of all sizes.

“I’m particularly pleased that with Clementine Loves Red we have a collaborative translation among the shortlistees: this is a new translation model that has come about through the translation mentorship schemes that have been established in the UK over the last few years. The presence on the shortlist of The Coast Road, translated from Irish, which our judges described as a “curiosity”, is also great news: Irish publishers and their translations are often omitted from UK-based translation awards and we wanted to make sure they were included in this Warwick initiative. And with Comma Press’s Swallow Summer, the growing Northern Powerhouse of publishing is also happily represented.”

The winner of the inaugural prize will be announced in an evening ceremony at the Warwick Arts Centre on Wednesday 15 November.

The full list of shortlisted titles is as follows:

  • Second-hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich, translated from Russian by Bela Shayevich (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2016)
  • Swallow Summer by Larissa Boehning, translated from German by Lyn Marven (Comma Press, 2016)
  • Clementine Loves Red by Krystyna Boglar, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Zosia Krasodomska-Jones (Pushkin Children’s Books, 2016)
  • The Coast Road by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, translated from Irish by Michael Coady, Peter Fallon, Tom French, Alan Gillis, Vona Groarke, John McAuliffe, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon, Michelle O’Sullivan, Justin Quinn, Billy Ramsell, Peter Sirr and David Wheatley (The Gallery Press, 2016)
  • Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg, translated from Polish by Eliza Marciniak (Portobello Books, 2017)
  • Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, translated from German by Susan Bernofsky (Portobello Books, 2016)

11 October 2017


Dr Chantal Wright - Proze coordinator of the prize from the University of Warwick’s Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies:

E: womenintranslation at warwick dot ac dot uk