2017 Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation Announced

Every year the Stephen Spender Trust and The Guardian invite translators to submit up to five translated poems to compete for the Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation. This prize (created to honor the memory of poet and translator Stephen Spender) is unique in that entries are accepted both in an “open” category and in the categories “18-and-under” and “14-and-under.” Each year’s winners are presented in a booklet made available for download on the Stephen Spender Trust website. This year’s winners were announced at a ceremony in London on Nov. 15. Here they are:

Open category:

Gabi Reigh, for her  translation of Romanian poet Marin Sorescu’s “The Traveller”

Also recognized: Andrew Fentham (2nd place), Antoinette Fawcett (3rd), and Deirdre McMahon (highly commended), with commendations to Stewart Sanderson, Kevin Maynard, and Antoinette Fawcett (yes, a double commendation!)


Ambah Brondum-Christensen, for her translation of Krio poet Daphne Pratt’s “Per Diem”

Also recognized: Euan McGreevy (2nd), Marina Kisluik (3rd), Isobel Sanders (commended)


Katherine Linaker, for her translation of “This is the Way” by BL Pasternak

Also commended: Hannah Gillot, Natasha Symes, Warsan Zubeir Masabo

Work by all the translators honored with prizes or commended – as well as commentary by the judges – is available on the Stephen Spender Trust website. Each translator was also asked to prepare a statement about the translation to accompany the work (an excellent practice also observed by Two Lines Journal), and these statements are included in the prize booklet as well.

Past winners of the first-place prize in the “open” category include: Lesley Saunders (2016), Francisca Gale (2015), Iain Galbraith (2014), Karen Leeder (2013), and Kaarina Hollo (2012). More winning translations from these and previous years can be found on the Stephen Spender Prize website.

Finally: how wonderful to offer prizes for young and very young translators parallel to the main competition and to print their work alongside those of the professional translators. I hope this practice will encourage young people to develop and pursue an interest in literary translation.

Next year’s competition will open to entries in late January or early February 2018 and close in May.

The Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation is open only to residents of the UK Maybe someone should think about starting a prize open to young and very young translators in the U.S. as well?

CORRECTION: The prize was originally open only to UK residents, but is now open to everybody, so get your entries in this spring when the 2018 competition opens!)

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  1. Gabi Reigh says:

    Thanks for posting and many congratulations on your award. Looking forward to reading the book you translated. I really like your blog, lots of useful tips.
    Gabi x

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