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 Prizes are awarded for the best unpublished literary translations from any language into English, subject to finding a reader (entrance fee will be refunded if no reader is available).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 Jacob Blakesley, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ Leeds, and Caroline Summers, University of Warwick. Past judges have included: Susan Bassnett, Universities of Glasgow and Warwick; James Garza (International Christian University); Duncan Large (University of East Anglia/ BCLT); Benedict Schofield (University of Bristol); Paul Starkey (University of Durham).

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 2023 – 2024 is now open. The competition deadline is 5 February 2024.

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for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, the John Dryden Translation Competition awards prizes for unpublished literary translations from any language into English.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 2022-23 John Dryden Translation Competition

The British Comparative Literature Association would like to announce the winners of the 2022-2023 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

Antonella Lettieri

for The War of the Murazzi translated from Enrico Remmert’s Italian text La guerra dei Murazzi.

Second Place

Naomi Mottram

for her translation from Sofia Sinitskaia’s Russian text Mitrofanushka Durasov. 

Third Place

David McCallam

for “No Words but Word-Dough” and “The Feeling” translated from Christophe Tarkos’s French text ‘Il y a pâte-mot’ and ‘Le sentiment’. 

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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