John Dryden Translation Competition Open: No Nationality Requirements

The British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA) has opened this year’s John Dryden Translation Competition, named for the first British poet laureate, who was also a translator:

John Dryden by John Michael Wright (b&w detail) © National Portrait Gallery, London
John Dryden by John Michael Wright (b&w detail)
© National Portrait Gallery, London

The competition is sponsored by the British Centre for Literary Translation and the University of East Anglia, and awards prizes “for unpublished literary translations from any language into English. Literary translation includes poetry, prose, or drama from any period.”

You can’t retire on the three top prizes — of £350, £200, and £100 — but they aren’t nothing. Other entries may receive commendations, and prizes also include a one-year BCLA membership.

The judges are professional translators and translation theorists; winning texts have not necessarily been by well-known authors. For 2015, there was a joint third prize, and one of the selected writers was Moroccan-Scottish-Swiss writer Lamia Berrada-Berca, translated from the French by Suzy Ceulan Hughes.

All the winners thus far have come from European languages, but the prize is very adamantly for any language translated into English, with the strange addendum that “(if in doubt about your source language, please contact us).”

Also, importantly, “There are no limitations on entrants with respect to age, nationality, place of residence, or professional status.”

If you’re interested, download the John Dryden Translation Competition 2015-2016 Entry Form. The closing date for entries is February 16, 2016.