John Dryden Translation Competition 2021 - 2022

John Dryden


The John Dryden Translation Competition 2021 – 2022, sponsored by the British Comparative Literature Association and the British Centre for Literary Translation, will be open for the submission of entries from September 2021. Prizes will be awarded for the best unpublished literary translations from any language into English, subject to finding a reader (entrance fee will be refunded if no reader is available).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.

First prize: £350; second prize: £200; third prize: £100; other entries may receive commendations.
All three prizes also include one year’s BCLA membership.

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for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, the John Dryden Translation Competition awards prizes for unpublished literary translations from any language into English.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



Competition Details

The winners of the John Dryden Competition 2020 – 2021 will be announced in summer/autumn 2021 on the BCLA website:

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 2021 and 31 January 2022, 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 September 2021
Failure to comply with the competition rules will render entries ineligible.

Previous Winners

Winners of the 2019 John Dryden Translation Competition

The British Comparative Literature Association would like to announce the winners of the 2019-20 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

Kate Roy

for Extracts from Zanzibar Blues, or: How I Found Livingstone from Hans Christoph Buch’s German text Sansibar Blues oder Wie ich Livingstone fand

Second Place

Fintan O’Higgins

for Battle of the Mice and Frogs from the Ancient Greek text Batrachomyomachia

Third Place

Natascha Bruce

for Dark as a Boy from Ho Sok Fong’s Chinese text 像男孩一樣黑

Highly Commended

Deirdre McMahon

for Owls fly soundlessly from Carolina Schutti’s German text Eulen fliegen lautlos

The shortlist also included:
The Longlist included (in alphabetical order):

Abigail Dyer for Lohengrin, Act II (from Richard Wagner’s German)
Allana Noyes for Animal Memory (from Claudia Morales’s Spanish)
Aubrey Botsford for Battle Ashes and After the Silence (from Carlo Emilio Gadda’s Italian)
Bethany Hine for Yardbird By Night; The Land of Water (from Yanick Lahens’ French)
Bob Knowles for The English in Egypt (from José Maria de Eça de Queiroz’s Portuguese)
Brian Welsh for The Sunday Afternoon Car (from Renate Dorrestein’s Dutch)
Chona Mendoza for The Cedar of Lebanon (from Grazia Deledda’s Italian)
Darcy Hurford for Siberia – a self-portrait with wings (from Ulla-Lena Lundberg’s Swedish)
Ekaterina Petrova for Remora or The Full Stop at the End (from Iana Boukova’s Bulgarian)
Elizaveta Timofeeva for The Black Man (from Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin’s Russian)
Heli Pärna for Comrade child (from Leelo Tungal’s Estonian)
Jonny Elling for Fresco Sonnets to Christian S. (from Heinrich Heine’s German)
Jozef van der Voort for PHON (from Marente de Moor’s Dutch)
Laura Shanahan for A Man Without Character (from Elsa Morante’s Italian)
Lucia Buccheri for The Taste Tester (from Giuseppina Torregrossa’s Italian)
Marielle Sutherland for The House with the Corridor (from Undine Gruenter’s German)
Rachel Farmer for How Many Trains (from Lena Kugler’s German)
Rosie Arscott for Fluids (from Alice Moine’s French)
Sophia Hersi Smith and Jennifer Russell for To the Beach (from Peter Højrup’s Danish)
Thierry Kehou for Three Little Shoeshiners (from Francis Bebey’s French)

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