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Poetry Translation Competition

The Stephen Spender Prize

The Stephen Spender Prize

Did you know that you don’t have to be fluent in another language in order to enter the Stephen Spender Prize, the UK’s biggest prize for poetry translation? Anyone can have a go, even if you’ve never translated anything before, and this year there are more prizes and commendations than ever to be won!

Maybe you are learning a language at school, or your family speaks another language at home, or perhaps there’s a country whose language and culture you’ve always wanted to explore. The 2020 prize received a record number of entries in the youth categories, and from 80 languages! These ranged from well-known languages such as French, Spanish, and German, to the less familiar, like Creole, Patois and Tamil.

Visit the Prize’s resource hub for suggested poems, videos and more, and its YouTube channel for mini masterclasses and testimonials.

How to enter

Submit an English translation of a published poem from any language, ancient or modern (no more than 60 lines), together with a commentary of no more than 300 words: giving 3 examples of difficult decisions that you had to make when translating the poem, and explaining how you overcame them. The Prize celebrates poetry in all its forms and genres— texts from rap, spoken word and slam poetry are eligible and very welcome. Please visit the Stephen Spender Trust website, and read the full Terms and Conditions and FAQs before submitting your entry.

Entering the prize can be a wonderful activity for anyone who speaks other languages besides English at home, or whose parents or grandparents do. For the first time, teachers can register to involve their students, and will receive regular resources and activities to help them to integrate creative translation into their teaching.

All residents and citizens of the UK and Ireland, of all ages, or pupils at a British School overseas, can enter.

Ready to enter? Visit the Prize website to submit your translation.

Closing date: 16 July 2021

• Categories: 18-and-under, 16-and-under, 14-and-under, and an open category for adults.
Top prize of £150 in the youth categories
• Free to enter for 18-and-under
• All winning entries published in a booklet
• Judges: Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra, Samantha Schnee
• Special ‘Spotlight’ prize for translation from Urdu, judged by Sascha Aurora Akhtar, with age categories for 18-and-under, 14-and-under, and 10-and-under.