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Warwick Prize for Women in Translation shortlist announced.

Warwick Prize for Women in Translation - 2021 ShortlistEight titles have been shortlisted for the fifth annual award of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.

The £1000 prize was established by the University of Warwick in 2017 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. In 2021 the prize is generously supported by the British Centre for Literary Translation and the British Comparative Literature Association.

Maria Stepanova and her translator from Russian Sasha Dugdale are twice represented on the shortlist with In Memory of Memory (Fitzcarraldo Editions) and War of the Beasts and the Animals (Bloodaxe Books).

For the second year in a row writer Yan Ge is on the shortlist, this year with Strange Beasts of China, translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang (Tilted Axis Press). Independent publishers Daunt Books Publishing, MacLehose Press and Scribe UK are all on the shortlist for the second year running.

The 2021 competition received a total of 115 eligible entries of which 17 titles made the initial longlist. The eight shortlisted titles include four novels, two genre-defying works that blend history, essay and fiction, one work of social history, and one collection of poetry. Six source languages are represented: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Polish, and Russian. The shortlist is dominated by independent publishers. Tilted Axis Press and Picador appear on the shortlist for the first time.

The full list of shortlisted titles, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

  • Mieko Kawakami, Breasts and Eggs, translated from Japanese by David Boyd and Sam Bett (Picador)
  • Scholastique Mukasonga, Our Lady of the Nile, translated from French by Melanie Mauthner (Daunt Books Publishing)
  • Judith Schalansky, An Inventory of Losses, translated from German by Jackie Smith (MacLehose Press)
  • Maria Stepanova, In Memory of Memory, translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • Maria Stepanova, War of the Beasts and the Animals, translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale (Bloodaxe Books)
  • Małgorzata Szejnert, Ellis Island: A People's History, translated from Polish by Sean Gasper Bye (Scribe UK)
  • Yan Ge, Strange Beasts of China, translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang (Tilted Axis Press)
  • Alice Zeniter, The Art of Losing, translated from French by Frank Wynne (Picador)

The 2021 prize is once again being judged by Amanda Hopkinson, Boyd Tonkin and Susan Bassnett.

Last year the prize was awarded to The Eighth Life (Scribe UK), written by Nino Haritischvili and translated from German by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin.

Previous winners of the prize are: The Years (Fitzcarraldo Editions), written by Annie Ernaux and translated from French by Alison L. Strayer; Belladonna (MacLehose Press), written by the late Daša Drndić and translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth; and Memoirs of a Polar Bear (Portobello Books), written by Japanese-German writer Yoko Tawada and translated from German by Susan Bernofsky.

The judges said of the shortlist:

This powerful and eclectic shortlist spans a world of stories, from China and Japan to Russia, Rwanda and Algeria. It also salutes the formal boldness and originality of women’s writing around the world today, with books that range from innovative poetry and fiction of many kinds – from the fable to the saga – to works that take non-fiction narrative into exciting new territories. Together, the titles on the list celebrate the literary imagination without boundaries or constraints, served in every case by translations of the highest calibre.”

Prize coordinators Dr Chantal Wright and Dr Holly Langstaff, School of Creative Arts, Performance and Visual Cultures at the University of Warwick, comment:

We are thrilled to see six source languages and a diverse range of genres represented on the shortlist in 2021. The variety and quality of work submitted to the prize this year is reflected in this list which crosses continents and genres. We look forward to celebrating this list of excellent works – and the fifth year of our existence – with the translation and publishing community that makes this prize possible.

The winner will be announced in an online ceremony on Wednesday 24 November.

10 November 2021

More details are available at the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation webpage. Regular updates are posted on Facebook and Twitter. For further information about the prize, please contact the coordinators Chantal Wright and Holly Langstaff at or 02476 573092.


Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager – University of Warwick:

M: +44(0)7785433155