Society of Authors’ Translation Prizes award £20,000 worth of prizes

ALCS is proud to sponsor the Society of Authors Translation Awards, which this year saw £20,000 in prizes awarded to outstanding translations of books across a range of genres. The Awards celebrate everything from short stories to art history in translations into English from Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew and Spanish, and debut translations from any language.

In her speech to introduce the evening, Society of Authors’ Head of Prizes and Awards, Paula Johnson, described the prizes as a “special celebration and a vivid display, undiminished, of the soft power of diverse cultures, amid the particular miracles that translation can deliver… evidence of the latest and best translations into English from around the world”. She thanked ‘all translators for continuing to sweep away barriers and expand our cultural connections’.



Premio Valle Inclán for translation from Spanish

The Premio Valle Inclán is an annual prize of £2,000 for translations into English of full-length Spanish language works of literary merit and general interest. This year’s judges were Professor Peter Bush and Dr Laura Lonsdale.

Winner: Jessica Sequeira for a translation of Land of Smoke by Sara Gallardo (Pushkin Press)

Judge Dr Laura Lonsdale said: “This volume of short stories marks an important rediscovery… Jessica Sequeira’s sensitive translation captures the rawness and strangeness, brevity and lightness of Gallardo’s prose, allowing both the humour and pathos of the stories’ dreamy, disconnected, yet very human situations to shine through.”

Runner-up: Sophie Hughes for a translation of The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán (And Other Stories)

Sponsored by ALCS and the Society of Authors.


Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for translation from Arabic

Winner: Leri Price for a translation of Death is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa (Faber and Faber)

Sponsored by the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature and the Saif Ghobash family. This year’s judges were Ghazi Gheblawi (chair), Dr Jan Fortune, Abla Oudeh Mahmoud, and Catherine Taylor.


Goethe-Institut Award for new translation

Winner: Kay McBurney for a translation of an extract from Die Fahrt by Sibylle Berg

Sponsored by the Goethe-Institut. This year’s judges were Oliver Kamm, Professor Karen Leeder and Charlotte Ryland.


Schlegel-Tieck Prize for translation from German

Winner: Iain Galbraith for a translation of River by Esther Kinsky (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Runner-up: Karen Leeder for a translation of Thick of It by Ulrike Almut Sandig (Scribe)

Sponsored by the Goethe-Institut.


Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation from French

Winner: Linda Coverdale for a translation of The Old Slave and the Mastiff by Patrick Chamoiseau (Dialogue Books)

Runner-up: David Warriner for a translation of We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard (Orenda Books)

Sponsored by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni and the Society of Authors.


TA First Translation Prize for debut translation from any language

Winner: Morgan Giles for a translation of Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri and edited by Saba Ahmed (Tilted Axis Press). Translated from Japanese.

Runners-up: Charlotte Whittle for a translation of People in the Room by Norah Lange and edited by Bella Bosworth (And Other Stories). Translated from Spanish.

Sponsored by Daniel Hahn and the British Council.


TLS-Risa Domb/Porjes Prize for translation from Hebrew

Winner: Peter C. Appelbaum for a translation of Hell on Earth by Avigdor Hameiri (Wayne State University Press)

Sponsored by The Edith and Ferdinand Porjes Charitable Trust and administered by the Jewish Book Council.


Vondel Prize for translation from Dutch

Winner: Michele Hutchison for a translation of Stage Four by Sander Kollaard (Amazon Crossing)

Runner-up: David Doherty for a translation of Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin (MacLehose Press)

Sponsored by the Dutch Foundation for Literature.


Find the full details of the winners here.

The Society of Authors promotes and supports ten translation prizes, eight of which were presented on Wednesday 12 February 2020.

The Society of Authors is the UK trade union for all types of writers, scriptwriters, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. They have more than 11,000 members and have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century. In 2019, they awarded more than £600,000 in prizes and grants (for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and translation), and administer the Women’s Prize for Fiction and The Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award.