John Dryden Translation Competition Winners

The British Comparative Literature Association organises a translation competition in memory of the first British poet laureate John Dryden (1631–1700), who was a literary critic, translator, and playwright as well as a poet.

See the John Dryden Translation Competition page for terms and conditions of entry. Please note that the next deadline for entry is the deadline for submissions is 10 February 2020.


Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 BCLA/BCLT John Dryden Translation Competition. The authors of the successful entries will be awarded their prizes at the BCLA “At Home” event, Saturday 2 November at 5.30 pm in Room L67 at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H OXG. See the map for location and directions.

First Place:

Jessica Wood for her translation from Stefano Benni’s Italian text Il bar sotto il mare

Second Place:

Michael Day for his translation from Yumiko Kurahashi’s Japanese text ⾙の中

Third Place:

Lin Falk Van Rooyen for her translation from Knud Romer’s Danish text Kort over Paradis

Highly Commended:

Yvette Siegert for her translation of selected poems from Piedad Bonnett’s Spanish texts Poesía reunida and Los Habitados

The Shortlist also included:

  • Simon Jones for his translation from Edwar al-Kharrat’s Arabic text Amam al-Bhar
  • Paul Castro for his translation from José Cardoso Pires’s Portuguese text Carta a Garcia
  • Krzysztof Majer for his translation from Andrzej Muszyński’s Polish text Podkrzywdzie
  • Simon Deefholts and Kathryn Phillips-Miles for their translation from Cristina Fernández Cubas’s Spanish text Ausencia
  • Luke Stafford for his translation from Javier Cercas’s Spanish text Soldados de Salamina
  • Terry Bradford for his translation from Boris Vian’s French text Vercoquin et le plancton

The Longlist included: 

  • Sabrina Jaszi for her translation from Reed Grachev’s Russian text Адамчик
  • Sabrina Jaszi for her translation of three short stories from Reed Grachev’s Russian texts Машина, Одно лето, and Помидоры
  • Dan Harvey for his translation from Reinhard Jirgl’s German text Mutter Vater Roman
  • William Burns for his translation from  Yael Inokai’s German text, Mahlstrom
  • Anna Bentley for her translation from Márta Patak’s Hungarian text Kinyílott a tulipán
  • Charlotte Coombe for her translation from Orlando Echeverri Benedetti’s Spanish text Criacuervo
  • Gabi Reigh for her translation from Liviu Rebreanu’s Romanian text Ciuleandra
  • Maya Feile Tomes for her translation from Salvador Benesdra’s Spanish text El Traductor

With many thanks to everyone who entered. 


Previous winners of the John Dryden Translation Competition

The winners of the John Dryden Translation Competition for 2017-18 have now been published in Comparative Critical Studies and can be read for free via the Edinburgh University Press website. Follow the links on the winner’s entries below:

First prize: Colin Bramwell and Wen-Chi Li for Selections from the poetry of Yang Mu from the Chinese of Yang Mu’s (出發)給名名的十四行詩.

Second prize:
Adam Sorkin and Diana Manole for A-Z.best (Selections) from the Romanian of Emilian Galaicu-Păun’s A-Z.best.

Third prize: Kseniia Vitalievna Bogdanova for The Legend of Larra from the Russian of Maxim Gorky’s Легенда о Ларре.

Commendation : Paul Melo e Castro for Raw Muscle from the Portuguese of Rubem Fonseca’s (A Força Humana.)


Winners of the John Dryden Translation Competition for 2016-2017

First prize: Melody Shaw forThe Swifts’ Nest from the German of Christoph Poschenrieder’s Mauersegler

Second prize: Robert Cantrick for Mario and the Magician from the German of Thomas Mann’s Mario und der Zauberer

Third prize: Clare Beddows for The Shadow of the Staff from the Italian of Mauro Corona’s L’Ombra del Bastone

Commendation: Simon Bruni for Cinnamon from the Spanish of Paul Pen’s (Canela)

Winners of the John Dryden Translation Competition for 2015-2016:

First prize: Keith Lander & Carla Scarano D’Antonio for Selected Poems by Eugenio Montale (Tutte le poesie)

Second prize: Krzysztof Majer for Squatting Down by Andrzej Stasiuk (Kucajac)

Commendation: Clarissa Botsford for Geology of a Father by Valerio Magrelli (Geologie di un padre)


Winners of the John Dryden Translation Competition for 2014 – 2015

First prize: Martin Bennet for The final voyage by Giovanni Pascoli (L’ultimo viaggio)

Second prize: Kevin Windle for Escape to the south by Sławomir Mrożek (Ukieczka no południe)

Joint third prize: Simon Bruni for The porcelain boy by Paul Pen (El niño de porcelana)

Joint third prize: Suzy Ceulan Hughes for Kant and the little red dress by Lamia Berrada-Berca (Kant et la petite robe rouge)


Winners of the John Dryden Competition for 2013 – 2014

First prize: Lesley Lawn for ‘Mute’ from the French ‘La Muette’ by Chahdortt Djavann.

* All translations are published under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 on the BCLA website unless otherwise stated.