John Dryden Translation Competition

John Dryden


The John Dryden Translation Competition is sponsored by the British Comparative Literature Association and the British Centre for Literary Translation. Prizes are awarded for the best unpublished literary translations from any language into English, subject to finding a reader (entrance fee will be refunded if no reader is available). Literary translation includes poetry, prose, or drama from any period. The competition is currently hosted by the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the University of Leeds. The judges’ panel is chaired by Dr Jacob Blakesley and Dr Caroline Summers.

First prize: £400; second prize: £250; third prize: £150; other entries may receive commendations.
All three prizes also include one year’s BCLA membership.

The John Dryden Translation Competition 2022 – 2023 is now open. The competition deadline is 6 February 2023.

Your John Dryden Translation Competition Entry

A Call For Entries

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. Sponsored jointly with the British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, the John Dryden Translation Competition awards prizes for unpublished literary translations from any language into English. Literary translation includes poetry, prose, or drama from any period.

John Dryden Competition Panel

The Judges

Judges will be selected from the following, and will be assisted by expert bilingual readers specialising in the literatures for which entries are received.

Dr Jacob Blakesley

Associate professor in comparative literature and literary translation

Prof. Susan Bassnett

Professor of Comparative Literature

Emily Finer

Senior Lecturer in Russian and Comparative Literature

Prof. Maike Oergel

Professor of German and Comparative Cultural Studies

Prof. Wen-chin Ouyang

Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature

Robert Chandler


Dr Caroline Summers

Lecturer in German/Comparative Translation Studies


Competition Details

Subject to copyright, winning entries will be published in full in Comparative Critical Studies and on the Edinburgh University Press website

If you join the BCLA between 1 July 2022 and 31 January 2023, you may submit one entry free of charge. Please note this on your  John Dryden Competition Entry form.

The entry fee is £10 sterling for one, £15 for two, or £20 for three entries. Payment can be made via the University of Leeds secure online store.

Electronic entries (source text, translation, entry form) should be emailed to:

If you need to send hard copies, please send them to the following address:
Dr Richard Hibbitt, John Dryden Translation Competition
School of Languages, Cultures & Societies
University of Leeds
United Kingdom

Entries will be received from November 2022
Failure to comply with the competition rules will render entries ineligible.

The deadline for this year’s competition is Monday 6 February 2023.


This year's winners

Winners of the 2021-2022 John Dryden Translation Competition

The British Comparative Literature Association would like to announce the winners of the 2021-2022 BCLA/BCLT John Dryden Translation Competition, chosen from over 100 entries and 29 different languages.

Many thanks to everyone who entered the competition. 

First Place

Ailsa Wood Azzaro

for The Beatrice Monologues translated from Stefano Benni’s Italian text Le Beatrici

Second Place

Rachel Farmer

for Incoming Tide translated from Achim Engstler and Astrid Dehe’s German text Auflaufend Wasser.

Third Place

Clive Watkins

for The Occasions: Seventeen Poems translated from Eugenio Montale’s Italian text Le Occasioni.

Highly Commended

Isobel Foxford

for Steppe translated from Olavo Amaral’s Portuguese text Estepe.

Highly Commended

Jesper Gulddal

for Rousseau’s Island, or St Peter in the Biel translated from Jens Baggesen’s Danish text Rousseaus Ø, eller St. Peter I Bielersøen.

Highly Commended

Marina Sofia

for The Holiday Game from Mihail Sebastian’s Romanian text Jocul de-a vacanţa.

The shortlist also included:
The Longlist included (in NO PARTICULAR ORDER):

David McCallam for Al fresco flirtations translated from Paul Verlaine French text Fêtes Galantes.

Bob Knowles for One Oppressor, Two Oppressed translated from Eça de Queiroz’s Portuguese text Cartas de Inglaterra.

J. E. M. Franch for Ode to Horac translated from Miquel Costa i Llobera’s Catalan text The ode “A Horaci”.

Rosie Arscott for Autobiography translated from Lisa Hazan’s French text Autobiographie.

Katherine Walker for Levanter Winds translated from Carolina África’s Spanish text Vientos de Levante.

Sai Whira Linn Khant for Mr San Maung’s Ghostly Shadow translated from Kyu Hnit’s Burmese text စံေမာင်၏ တေစ.

Lukasz Bury for Selected Early 20th Century Poems translated from Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska /Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński /Jan Brzechwa /Zuzanna Ginczanka’s Polish text Smutny Ktoś I biedny Nikt / Dlaczego ogórek nie śpiewa // Entliczek Pentliczek / Maj 1939.

Charlotte Collins for Darkenbloom translated from Eva Menasse’s German text Dunkelblum.

Yui Kajita and Clara Marino for Selected Modern Poems by Yosano Akiko translated from Yosano Akiko’s Japanese text Selections from『与謝野晶子全集』(The Complete Works of Yosano Akiko, 1929).

Jane Roffe for Saint Margaret-Mary and Me translated from Clémentine Beauvais’s French text Sainte Marguerite-Marie et moi.

Paul Kaye for Our Friend from the Crags translated from Josef Štyrsa’s Czech text Kamarád ze skal.

Helen Hagon for Liodor translated from Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin’s Russian text Лиодор.

Kevin Gerry Dunn for The Tyranny of Flies (excerpt from first chapters) translated from Elaine Vilar Madruga’s Spanish text La tiranía de las moscas.

Kevin Gerry Dunn for ‘Shotgun’ from the collection This Isn’t What We Came For translated from María Bastarós’s Spanish text ‘El día de la escopeta’ from the collection No era a esto a lo que veníamos.

Chen Du and Xisheng Chen for Imaginary World (from “Rock Arrangement”) translated from Yan An (阎安)’s Chinese text 虚构的世界 (from 《整理石头》).

Kevin Windle, Amalia Milman and Mario Daniel Martín for The First Three Seconds (excerpt from the novel Iridio Ennui v. the Boltzmann Brains) translated from Mario Daniel Martín’s Spanish text La inevitable resurrección de los Cerebros de Boltzmann.

Kevin Windle for The Barefoot Truth translated from Bosaya Pravda’ Russian text Artyom Vesyoly.

Melissa Schmidt for Cry Out translated from Mehdi Akhavan-Sales’s Persian text Fariad (فریاد).

Rachel Farmer for Shy Game translated from Karen Köhler’s German text Wild ist scheu.

David Yang for A Silver-Gray Death translated from YU, Dafu (郁達夫)’s Chinese text 銀灰色的死.

David Yang for Sinking translated from YU, Dafu (郁達夫)’s Chinese text 沈淪.

Seyede Khoshkhoosani for We Have Horrifying Memories translated from Hamed Ebrahimpour’s Persian text Ma Khatereh Ha-yi Tarsnaki Darim.

Max Taylor for Barbara translated from Jacques Prévert’s French text Barbara.

Katherine Van de Vate for Cactus Girls translated from Karima Ahdad’s Arabic text Banat al-Sabbar.

Kathryn Muldoon for Liebwies translated from Irene Diwiak’s German text Liebwies.

Anne Thompson Melo for Hopscotch translated from Véronique Presle’s French text La Marelle.

Marielle Sutherland for The Apples translated from Catrin Barnsteiner’s German text Verglüht: Erzählungen.

Nadiyah Abdullatif for Misère translated from Davina Ittoo’s French text Misère.

Elena Pala for The Hare translated from Mireille Gagné’s French text Le Lièvre d’Amérique.

On behalf of the organisers and judges, we would like to welcome entrants to the competition. The deadline for next year’s competition will be announced at a later date.

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