Two Translation Contests for You

Some great opportunities for translators this summer in the form of two translation contests.

First up is Asymptote’s Close Approximations International Translation Contest. Judged by Eliot Weinberger (poetry) and Howard Goldblatt (fiction), this contest is open to translators from all languages into English and will award $1,000 prizes in each category, as well as publication in Asymptote. Deadline September 1, 2013. Cost of entry is $10.

More information is available right here.

“Close Approximations,” our new international contest, will be judged by two translators we greatly admire, Eliot Weinberger (poetry) and Howard Goldblatt (fiction), and we’re offering 1,000 USD to the winner in each category, as well as publication in Asymptote. The winners and shortlist will be announced in our January 2014 issue.

Eliot Weinberger’s books of literary essays include Karmic Traces, An Elemental Thing, and Oranges & Peanuts for Sale. His political articles are collected in What I Heard About Iraq and What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles. The author of a study of Chinese poetry translation, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, he is the current translator of the poetry of Bei Dao, and the editor of The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry and a forthcoming series of classics from Chinese University Press of Hong Kong. Among his translations and editions of Latin American poetry and prose are The Poems of Octavio Paz, Jorge Luis Borges’ Selected Non-Fictions, Xavier Villaurrutia’s Nostalgia for Death, and Vicente Huidobro’s Altazor. His work has been translated into thirty languages.

Howard Goldblatt has translated several books by Chinese novelist and 2012 Nobel Prize Winner Mo Yan. Other writers he has translated from the Chinese include virtually all major contemporary novelists. Recent translations include Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong, Su Tong’s Boat to Redemption, and, with Sylvia Li-chun Li, Bi Feiyu’s Three Sisters, all winners of the Man Asian Literary Prize. In 2000 Goldblatt won the National Translation Award for his rendition of Chu Tien-wen’s Notes of a Desolate Man, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009. He is a contributing editor at Asymptote.

With another opportunity, the British press Harvill Secker is in the fourth year of its Young Translators’ Prize. The contest this year is to translate a passage from the celebrated Brazilian writer Adriana Lisboa (the excerpt in question was originally written in Portuguese), to be judged by Margaret Jull Costa, Naomi Alderman, Ángel Gurría-Quintana, and Ellie Steel. The deadline on this contest is August 2, 2013, and the prize is £1000 and a selection of Harvill Secker titles. The winner will also participate in the BCLT mentorship scheme and in Crossing Border festival. Entry is free, but since this is a young translators prize, entrants must be between the ages of 18 and 34.

Here’s information on Lisboa and the judges:

Adriana Lisboa was born in Rio de Janeiro. With degrees in Music and Literature, she is the author of ten widely translated fiction titles, including five novels, a collection of flash fiction, and books for children. She was hailed as a new star of Brazilian literature after the publication of her 2001 novel Sinfonia em Branco (‘Symphony in White’), which received the prestigious José Saramago Prize. In 2007, she was selected by the Hay Festival/Bogota World Book Capital as one of the 39 highest profile Latin American writers under the age of 39. Her latest novel, Crow Blue, will be published in the UK by Bloomsbury in October 2013, translated by Alison Entrekin.

Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for nearly twenty-five years and has translated many novels and short stories by Portuguese, Spanish and Latin American writers, including Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, Javier Marías, Bernardo Atxaga, Alberto Barrera Tyszka and Luis Fernando Verissimo. She has won various prizes for her work, most recently, the 2012 Calouste Gulbenkian Prize with Teolinda Gersão’s The Word Tree, for which she was also runner-up with António Lobo Antunes’s The Land at the End of the World.

Naomi Alderman (author)
Naomi Alderman grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers, and in 2007 she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and one of Waterstones’ 25 Writers for the Future. She is the author of four novels: Disobedience, The Lessons, The Liars’ Gospel and the Doctor Who tie-in novel Borrowed Time. Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes regularly for Prospect and the Guardian. From 2004 to 2007 Naomi was lead writer on the BAFTA-shortlisted alternate reality game Perplex City. She’s written online games for Penguin, the BBC, and other clients. In 2012, she co-created the top-selling fitness game and audio adventure Zombies, Run!.

Ángel Gurría-Quintana (literary reviewer)
Ángel Gurría-Quintana is a historian, journalist and translator of Spanish and Portuguese. He has written for the Financial Times since 2003, specialising in literature in translation. His work has also appeared in the Observer, the Guardian, The Paris Review, Brick, and the translation blog Three Percent. A regular presence at the Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty, his translations from Portuguese include the stories by Beatriz Bracher, Bernardo Carvalho, Milton Hatoum, Reinaldo Moraes and Cristovão Tezza in the compilation Dez/Ten (2012). More recently he co-edited and translated the forthcoming anthology, Other Carnivals: New Writing from Brazil (Full Circle Editions). He works at the University of Cambridge.

Ellie Steel (editor)
Ellie Steel is an editor at Harvill Secker, where she publishes Manuel Rivas, Karin Fossum and Andrey Kurkov, among others. She is the editor of the ‘A View from This Bridge’ blog at

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