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Warwick launches prize for Women in Translation

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The University of Warwick has launched an annual award, The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, to encourage foreign fiction by women to be translated into English.

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation considers works of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction, children fiction or young adult fiction by female authors that have been translated into English, regardless of the translator’s gender.

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures joined forces with the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies for its creation over a course of three years. Meanwhile, the Connecting Cultures Global Research Priority of the University of Warwick provided the necessary funding.

The first prize will be awarded in November 2017 and publishers are welcome to nominate titles from 3 April, with the shortlist being announced in October.

The monetary prize will be a total of £1,000 to be split equally between the winning author and her translator, who will be declared by a jury of three judges: Boyd Tonkin, Senior Writer and columnist at The Independent; Susan Bassnett, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick; and Amanda Hopkinson, a literary translator and scholar.

The prize aims to counter the underrepresentation of foreign female writers in UK’s publications. Chantal Wright, Associate Professor in the University of Warwick and coordinator of the prize, has acknowledged the role of the literary translation circles in producing a gender imbalance in translated literature.

Moreover, according to a Nielsen Book report, although 7% of total sales in the UK are in translated literary fiction, only 3.5% of the titles published in the country fall under this category. Judge Susan Bassnett explained that The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation is “a rallying call to translators and publishers everywhere.”

Maureen Freely, Head of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick, commented: “We’ve come a long way with the championing of world literature over the past decade… In the same period, however, we’ve noticed that it is markedly more difficult for women to make it into English translation.”

She added that the prize is “an opportunity to welcome in the voices and perspectives that we have missed thus far.”

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