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Submit To Stephen Spender Prize 2023

The Stephen Spender Prize is the leading annual prize for poetry in translation, with categories for pupils, teachers and individual young people UK


Stephen Spender Prize 2023

Submit To Stephen Spender Prize 2023


The leading prize for poetry translation, open to all ages. This year’s competition is open for entries until 14th July 2023. Read on for more details on how to enter!


About The Stephen Spender Prize And How To Enter In 2023


The Stephen Spender Prize is the leading annual prize for poetry in translation, with categories for pupils, teachers and individual young people in the UK and Ireland, as well as an Open category for adults from all over the world. The rules are simple: translate into English any poem from any language – from French to Farsi, from Spanish to Somali—and win publication and cash prizes!

Watch the video below for more details on how to enter this year’s competition, and scroll on to discover the different prize categories for 2023 and to meet this year’s judges.

Teachers can now register here to involve their students. All those who register will receive regular resources and activities to help them to integrate creative translation into their teaching.

The Stephen Spender Prize 2023 is generously supported by the John S Cohen Foundation, Old Possum’s Practical Trust, the Rothschild Foundation, the Jan Michalski Foundation, and Robert and Olivia Temple and The Bj√∂rnson and Prodan Foundation.

What’s new for Stephen Spender Prize 2023

There are lots of exciting changes for 2023! Here are the key updates:

The Open category goes international! For the first time, we’re thrilled to extend the Open category to adults from all over the world.

NEW dedicated strand for schools, for teachers entering with their pupils – featuring a new category for primary pupils, new multimedia alternatives to the written commentary, and a new bank of suggested poems that will ultimately cover dozens of languages.

NEW translation competition for teachers – Teachers at participating schools can now get creative with our free Teacher Laureate Prize!

Celebrating Ukrainian culture with the Ukrainian Spotlight – This year, our annual Spotlight turns to poetry from Ukraine.



Categories To Enter For Stephen Spender Prize 2023



For 2023, we are delighted to extend the Open category to entrants aged 19+ from all over the world!

Individual Youth Entry
Are you a budding poet aged 18 or under? Translate any poem from any language with our individual youth categories!

Schools Laureate Prize
With categories at KS1-5, our new Schools Laureate strand is the perfect way for teachers to get students of all ages involved in the Stephen Spender Prize!

Ukrainian Spotlight
Open to individual young people as well as teachers submitting on behalf of students, this year our Spotlight strand celebrates poetry from Ukraine.


Teacher Laureate Prize
Calling all teacher-translators! If you or your colleagues have entered students for the Schools Laureate or Spotlight strands, our new Teacher Laureate Prize is for you.



Selecting a Poem and the Ethics of Translation

When you enter the Stephen Spender Prize, we want you to translate poems that speak to your heart; poems that inspire you.

Through the act and process of translation, we want to open people’s eyes and minds to unfamiliar cultures and languages, and for them to engage with the linguistic traditions that form part of their own lives.

Poetry can be moving, funny, sad, intense and exciting. It can also be challenging. Poems from different times and places sometimes embody attitudes that may offend some readers, and some poets are controversial because of things that they did or said off the page.

In some instances, the sharing of a writer’s work is questioned when such controversy arises. We believe that it is important to make such matters part of public debate, rather than removing uncomfortable issues from sight.

The Stephen Spender Prize is a celebration of dialogue between cultures, and good dialogue depends on both freedom and respect.

And so, we ask two things of you when you are selecting a poem for translation.

Firstly, make sure that you are comfortable with the attitude of the poem and the conduct of the poet (if this is known), and think sensitively about how it may be read by others. If you are selecting poems for children to translate, then please take care on their behalf.

Secondly, if you think the poem is challenging for either of the above reasons, but would like to translate it anyway, you may wish to reflect on this in your commentary.


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Pawners Paper: Submit To Stephen Spender Prize 2023
Submit To Stephen Spender Prize 2023
The Stephen Spender Prize is the leading annual prize for poetry in translation, with categories for pupils, teachers and individual young people UK
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