The Sarah Maguire Prize

About the Sarah Maguire Prize

Sarah Maguire Prize 2022 Logo with Gunmetal Lavender background

The Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation is an international biennial award for the best book of poetry in English translation by a living poet from beyond Europe. The winning poet and their translator, or translators, will split an award of £3000 between them.

The prize has been established in the memory of the poet Sarah Maguire who was the founder of the Poetry Translation Centre and a champion of international poetry. The aim of the prize is to showcase the very best contemporary poetry from around the world and to champion the art of poetry translation.

The 2022 prize is now open for submissions, and publishers can submit their books for consideration until the deadline of November 30th 2021. Titles eligible for entry must be published between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2021. We will be announcing this year’s judges shortly.

Poet and translator Alireza Abiz, who was the chair of the judging panel in 2020 summed up the importance of the prize: “I think reading the poetry of other nations and other cultures is probably the best way to connect with other human beings on the deepest level – because poetry carries the innermost feelings as well as the intellectual endeavours of other cultures.”

He went on to describe how translated poetry enriches, not just the individual reader, but society as a whole: “Poetry enriches the culture that is receptive to translation. In the UK, very often when we talk about underrepresented languages and cultures we try to depict poetry translation as giving voice to those cultures, which is true but ignores the fact that English culture and the English Language also benefits from translation.”

2022 Judges

Rosalind Harvey

Chair of the Judges

Rosalind Harvey

Rosalind Harvey is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and translator of a number of works including Juan Pablo Villalobos’ debut novel, Down the Rabbit Hole, shortlisted for 2011 Guardian First Book Award and the 2012 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. Her translation of his work I’ll  Sell You A Dog was longlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award, and that of his YA title about the journeys of teenage Central American immigrants to the United States was shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize. Harvey is also chair and co-founder of the Emerging Translators Network, and has taught translation at the University of Warwick, the University of Bristol, and the University of  Roehampton.

Kyoo Lee

Kyoo Lee

Kyoo Lee is a philosopher, traveller, writer and critic, who currently teaches at the City University of  New York where she is Professor of Philosophy. A recipient of faculty fellowships from Cambridge  University, CUNY Graduate Center, Ewha Womans University, KIAS, the Mellon Foundation, the NEH,  Seoul National University, and Yanbian University, among others, she publishes widely in the interwoven fields of the Arts and the Humanities. Throughout her site-specific philopoetic practices,  ‘Q’ explores co-generative links between critical theory and creative prose. A scholar active in editorial fieldwork, she translates from Korean into English. 

Kit Fan

Kit Fan

Kit Fan is a novelist, poet, and critic. Diamond Hill, his debut novel about Hong Kong, is published by  Dialogue Books and World Editions in May 2021. His second poetry collection, As Slow As Possible was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and one of the Irish Times Books of the Year. He was shortlisted twice for the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, and a winner of Northern Writers Award, Times Stephen Spender Poetry Translation Prize, and POETRY’s Editors Prize for  Reviewing. He translates from Chinese into English.

Funders

The Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation is supported by the Estate of Sarah Maguire, the British Council, the Garrick Charitable Trust, Golsoncott Foundation and the kind donations of the friends and family of Sarah Maguire.

If you would like to support the prize you can make a one-off or regular donation to the prize, or to be notified of Sarah Maguire Prize news and other poetry translation updates you can sign up to our newsletter.

The 2020 Prize

The winner of the inaugural Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry In Translation was Anniversary Snow by Yang Lian, translated from Chinese by Brian Holton with further translations by WN Herbert, L. Leigh, Liang Lizhen, Pascale Petit, Fiona Sampson, George Szirtes and Joshua Weiner and published by Shearsman Books.

The winner was announced at an online event hosted by the Poetry Translation Centre on Thursday, 25th March 2021. The winning poet, Yang Lian, and his translators shared a prize of £3000.

The shortlist featured books translated from Japanese, Arabic, Korean, Spanish and Chinese. The selection celebrated both the best of modern poetry from across the globe and showcased a range of different translation methodologies highlighting excellence in literary translation.

You can watch videos about the 2020 shortlist on our YouTube Channel.

The 2020 Sarah Maguire Prize judging panel was chaired by Alireza Abiz is an Iranian poet, literary critic and translator. He was joined on the judging team by Leo Boix Latino British poet, translator and journalist and Ida Hadjivayanis, a translator originally from Zanzibar. In choosing their shortlist the judges looked for books that spoke to UK audiences, but which maintained the unique spark of their original texts.

About Sarah Maguire

Sarah Maguire (1957-2017) was the founder of the Poetry Translation Centre and a champion of international poetry.

During a varied career, Sarah worked as a gardener, in prisons, as a Royal Literary Fund fellow at SOAS University of London, and presenting cultural discussions for the BBC. She was a prominent voice within contemporary poetry; publishing several collections including: Spilt Milk (1991), The Invisible Mender (1997), The Florist’s at Midnight (2002), The Pomegranates of Kandahar (2007) and a volume of selected poems, Almost the Equinox (2015).

In the mid-1990s, Sarah was approached by the British Council to be the first writer they sent on outreach trips to Palestine (1996) and Yemen (1998). It was on these visits, encountering Arabic poetry that Maguire developed her passion for poetry translation. She said of the experience: ‘When I arrived in Palestine and first encountered Palestinian poets, I became aware that it was in my power to do something important. Working with poets and translators to present translations in English of Palestinian poetry was possible, and there was hope that the influence of these translations would be far-reaching on readers of English.’

Maguire became a passionate advocate for poetry and translation. In 2004 she established the Poetry Translation Centre and remained as it’s director until shortly before her death.

The Sarah Maguire Prize was established with the support of Sarah’s family and friends to celebrate her passion for international poetry and champion the art of translation.

FAQs

Why should I enter my book to the Sarah Maguire Prize?

The Sarah Maguire Prize aims to raise the profile of contemporary poetry in English translation. We will publish a selection of chosen poems in an anthology which will be distributed to English readers and audiences in order to promote the selected poets, translators and their books. The winning poet and their translator, or translators, will share a prize of £3,000. Additionally, shortlisted poets, translators and publishers will all be invited to a UK award ceremony, for which some travel subsidy is available. Press and marketing support will be available to shortlisted publishers, to help promote the selected books.

Is there a cost to entering prize?

No. The prize is free to enter.

Will you request hard copies of my book in order to enter?

We only require PDF copies of the book to submit it for the prize. We will request 7 copies of shortlisted titles to pass on to the judges and for marketing purposes.

I am a poet, how can I enter the prize?

The Sarah Maguire Prize is only open to submissions from publishers. If you would like your book to be considered, then you will need to speak to your publisher and encourage them to enter.

My book is published outside of the eligible dates, or due to be published in 2022, can I enter?

The prize is only open to books published between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2021. However, we will open the prize again in 2023 for books published in 2022 and 2023. Please check back for further details.

My book is not published in the UK, is it eligible?

Books do not have to be published in the UK, however the publisher must hold the rights for sale of the book in the UK, as well as having obtained all necessary permissions to publish the book in the English language.

Is there a cap on the number of entries publishers can submit?

No. Provided books are eligible, then publishers can enter multiple titles.

Can judges call in books that have not been submitted?

Yes. If judges come across a book in their own reading, which they would like to consider for the prize, they may call this in.

My book contains translations of a single poet but taken from a number of their original-language collections. Is it still eligible?

Books submitted can be collected or selected works rather than a translation of a single collection. However, at least 50% of the translations in the book must not have been published before in book form. Therefore if your title brings together translations that have all been published previously in English then it will not be eligible.

My book contains the work of several poets. Is it eligible?

No. Books must be the work of a single poet

My books is a short pamphlet. Is it eligible?

All books must have at least 48 pages and a valid ISBN number.

My books is only available as an e-book. Is it eligible?

No. Books must be published as physical publications.

The original-language poet is originally from outside Europe, but currently resides within Europe. Is a translation of their work still eligible?

The poet can be resident anywhere in the world but must originate from outside Europe and publicly identify their writing as being from beyond Europe. Eligibility will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to discuss the eligibility, please contact us.

What do we mean by ‘beyond Europe’?

For the purposes of the 2022 prize Europe will be defined as proposed by the United Nations geoscheme, which can be found here.

The translator of the book is from and/or based outside of Europe. Is my book still eligible?

It is the origin of the original-language poet which decides the eligibility of a book. The translator can be from or based anywhere in the world.

My book has multiple translators, or includes translations working from literal/bridge translations. Is my book still eligible?

Yes. Books can be translated by any number of translators, and including collaborative translation processes. In such instances the translators prize fee will be split between all translators.

What is the Poetry Translation Centre’s role in selecting the winner?

The Poetry Translation Centre pick the judges for the Sarah Maguire Prize, and will adjudicate on eligibility based on the published rules. In all cases PTC’s ruling on the eligibility or ineligibility of a book will be final and binding. If you’d like to discuss whether a title is eligible, please contact us.

The judges will independently decide on the shortlist and the winner. The decision of the judges is final and they will not enter into any correspondence with entrants regarding their decisions. The judges reserve the right not to award the Prize if, in their opinion, no works entered reach a sufficiently high standard.

Who should I contact if I have a query about the prize?

If you have a query or would like to find out more, please contact us via info@poetrytranslation.org.

Who can apply?

Who can apply?

  • Books can only be submitted by their publishers.
  • We will not accept self-published entries, or entries submitted by poets or translators.

Which books are eligible?

  • Books must be the work of a single living poet writing in a language other than English whose work has been translated into English.
  • The poet can be resident anywhere in the world but must originate from, and publicly identify as being from beyond Europe
  • Books must have an ISBN number.
  • Books can be published anywhere in the world, but the rights for sale in the UK must be in place.
  • Books must have been published between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2021.
  • At least 50% of the translations in the book must not have been published before in book form.

Read the full terms and conditions below.

If you have any queries about whether you or your books are eligible for the prize, please contact us via info@poetrytranslation.org.

SMP 2022 Rules

The Prize

The Sarah Maguire Poetry in Translation Prize will be offered biennially for the best book of poetry in English translation by a living poet from beyond Europe, published anywhere in the world. £1,500 will be awarded to the winning poet and £1,500 to the winning translator (or shared if there is more than one translator). The prize will be presented at an awards ceremony in autumn 2022.

Eligibility

a) The book must have been first published in English between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2021.

b) The book can be published in any country but the rights for sale in the UK must be in place.

c) The Publisher must hold and/or have cleared all necessary permissions to publish the book in the English language including the rights for sale of the book in the UK and be able to evidence this if requested.

d) The book must be the work of a single poet writing in a language other than English whose work has been translated into English.

e) The poet can be resident anywhere in the world but must originate from beyond Europe and publicly identify their writing as being from beyond Europe. For the purposes of the 2022 prize Europe will be defined as proposed by the United Nations geoscheme, which can be found here.

f) The book must be the work of a living poet. A posthumous collection will only be eligible if it has been published within one year of the poet’s death.

g) At least 50% of the translations in the book must not have been published before in book form.

h) A book shall be defined as having at least 48 pages and with a valid ISBN number in its country of publication.

i) Books must be physical publications. Books that are only available in e-format are not eligible for entry.

j) The book must be submitted by the publisher. Entries from individual poets or translators of their own work will not be accepted. This includes any books that have been self-published.

k) In all cases, the organiser’s ruling on the eligibility or ineligibility of a book will be final and binding.

Submissions

a) All entries must be submitted electronically through the Poetry Translation Centre’s Submittable entry page, with completed entry forms and a PDF of the book. Books must be submitted by the publisher.

b) The last date for submission will be 30th November 2021. Please note although books published in December 2021 will be eligible for the prize the deadline for submissions is 20th November 2021.

Shortlist

a) The judges will select a shortlist of five books, which will be announced in March 2022.

b) If in the judges’ opinion there are more titles worthy of recognition, the number of shortlisted books may be increased but will comprise of not more than seven books.

c) If an entry is shortlisted the publisher agrees to supply seven bound copies of the book by 15th April 2022 to the Poetry Translation Centre, The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, SE8 4AG, UK.

d) Copies of books submitted to the Prize will not be returned.

e) Shortlisted and winning poets and translators will be expected to be available for publicity near the time of the awards and, where possible, to attend the award ceremony. Poets and translators may also be filmed and recorded at the ceremony for the promotion of the Prize.

Reproduction of poems

a) The copyright of each poem and translation remains with the author. However, individual translations from all books entered into the prize will be considered for publication in the Poetry Translation Centre’s Sarah Maguire Prize Anthology. [Link to shop page for 2020 anthology] By entering the competition, the publishers grant The Poetry Translation Centre the right in perpetuity to publish and/or broadcast their translations, with appropriate acknowledgement, for distribution throughout the world, in print, on the Poetry Translation Centre website, in our newsletter, in associated publications, on social media channels, and in press releases and emails for the purposes of marketing the publication, the Prize or associated work.

b) For books entered into the prize containing the original language poems as well as English language translations the above terms apply to the original language poems as well as the English language translations.

c) For English language only entries to the prize, the Poetry Translation Centre will seek to acquire the rights to publish the original language poems alongside the translations.

d) The Poetry Translation Centre will publish no more than eight poems or twelve pages of translations and no more than eight poems or twelve pages of original language poems from any one book within the Sarah Maguire Prize publication.

e) By entering the competition the publisher agrees to write a short introduction to their publication to be printed in the anthology at the Poetry Translation Centre’s discretion.

The Judging

a) The Prize will be judged by three judges chosen by the Poetry Translation Centre. The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice.

b) The decision of the judges is final and they will not enter into any correspondence with entrants regarding their decisions.

c) Judges may call in books for consideration if they so wish.

d) The judges reserve the right not to award the Prize if, in their opinion, no works entered reach a sufficiently high standard.