We are delighted to announce that the 2020 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize is now open for entry. This year the focus language is Japanese and entrants will translate the short story ‘Yakyoku’ by Yusho Takiguchi, from his award-winning collection Shindeinaimono.

Now in its eleventh year, the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize aims to encourage and support the next generation of literary translators, and focuses on a different language each year. Entry is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34 with no more than one full-length translation previously published. There is no restriction on country of residence. For full details, please refer to the terms and conditions of entry below.

Harvill Secker is delighted to be continuing its partnership with the National Centre for Writing. This year’s winner will be mentored by celebrated translator and writer Polly Barton as part of a National Centre for Writing Emerging Translator Mentorship, presented in association with the Tadashi Yanai Initiative.

As well as the mentorship, the winning translator will receive £1,000 and a selection of Harvill Secker books.

Entries will be judged by translators Polly Barton and David Karashima, novelist Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, literature and lifestyle blogger Monique-Paris Jackson and Harvill Secker editor and prize coordinator Mikaela Pedlow. The winner will be announced around International Translation Day on 30th September 2020.

How to Enter

Deadline for entries: Wednesday 16 September 2020

Please note entries must be received by this date: late entries will not be considered.

You must be between 18 and 34 years of age on the submission deadline. For full details, please refer to the terms and conditions of entry in the online entry form and below.

Each entrant must complete our online entry form then email their translation as a word document to youngtranslatorsprize@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk. In the subject line, please include your name[s] and ‘2020 entry’.


Please note that this year we are unable to consider entries submitted by post.

Online entry form and instructions: https://forms.gle/ZAGhQZfgPmqjTCZe6

Download the Terms and Conditions of Entry here

Download or print the Japanese text here (you will need Acrobat Reader to do so)

If you have any queries, please contact us at: youngtranslatorsprize@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

About Yusho Takiguchi


Born in Tokyo in 1982, novelist Yūshō Takiguchi was raised in neighbouring Saitama. He writes stories about individual and collective memory, marked by a roaming, omniscient narrative voice and multiple temporalities. In 2011, he was awarded the Shincho Prize for New Writers for his novella Gakki. His short story collection Nezō was nominated for the 36th Noma Literary New Face Prize. Another short story collection, Ai to Jinsei, was shortlisted for the 28th Mishima Yukio Prize, and awarded the 37th Noma Literary New Face Prize. His novel The Jimi Hendrix Experience was shortlisted for the 153rd Akutagawa Prize, and he won the 154th Akutagawa Prize with his short story collection Shindeinaimono (Bungeishunju, 2015, 2019). His latest work, The Iowa Diaries, was serialized in Shinchō magazine and published by NUMABOOKS in 2019.

The Judges


POLLY BARTON is a translator of Japanese literature and non-fiction, currently based in Bristol. She has translated short stories for Words Without Borders, The White Review and GRANTA. Full-length translations include Where the Wild Ladies Are by Matsuda Aoko (Tilted Axis Press), Spring Garden by Tomoka Shibasaki (Pushkin Press), and There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura (upcoming from Bloomsbury). After being awarded the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, she is currently working on a non-fiction book entitled Fifty Sounds.


ROWAN HISAYO BUCHANAN is the author of Harmless Like You and Starling Days. She is the winner of The Authors' Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award. She has been shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. Her short work has appeared in several places including Granta, The White Review and The Atlantic. She is the editor of the Go Home! anthology.


MONIQUE-PARIS JACKSON is a Digital Content Creator, photographer, writer and Polyglot based in Manchester. She is passionate about linguistics within the Asian Pacific area. When not trying to improve her French, Spanish, German and Mandarin language and linguistic skills, she blogs about lifestyle, literature and travel whilst telling stories through her images. She is currently working on her first novel. You can follow her adventures on novelallure.com and @NovelAllure, a literature and lifestyle platform bringing light to African and Japanese works. 


DAVID KARASHIMA is associate professor of creative writing at Waseda University in Tokyo. He has translated a range of contemporary Japanese authors into English, including Hitomi Kanehara, Hisaki Matsuura, and Shinji Ishii. He coedited (with Elmer Luke) the anthology March Was Made of Yarn: Writers Respond to the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown and is coeditor (with Michael Emmerich) of Pushkin Press’s Contemporary Japanese Novellas series. Who We're Reading When We're Reading Murakami, his book on Haruki Murakami's early English translators/translations, will be published by Soft Skull Press in September 2020.


MIKAELA PEDLOW is the Assistant Editor at Harvill Secker, where she works with many international authors including Ismail Kadare, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Per Petterson and Enrique Vila-Matas. Mikaela is the coordinator of the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize, and also mentors on the Penguin Random House WriteNow programme.

Previous winners of the Young Translators’ Prize:

2010: ‘The Axe Falls’ by Matías Néspolo, translated from the Spanish by Beth Fowler

2011: ‘Gothic Night’ by Mansoura Ez Eldin, translated from the Arabic by Wiam El-Tamami

(available to read on Granta)

2012: ‘The Wig’ by Han Don, translated from the Chinese by Philip Hand

(available to read on Granta)

2013: ‘Success’ by Adriana Lisboa, translated from the Portuguese by Lucy Greaves

(available to read on Granta)

2014: ‘The Family Friend’ by Julia Franck, translated from the German by Eleanor Collins

(available to read on Granta)

2015: ‘The Tatoo’ by Maciej Miłkowski, translated from the Polish by Tul’si (Tuesday) Bhambry

(available to read on Granta)

2016: ‘Swimming Underwater’ by Merethe Lindstrøm, translated from the Norwegian by Marta Eidsvåg

(available to read on Granta)

2017: ‘Seven People with the Same Name and their Discrete Moments’ by Han Yujoo, translated from the Korean by Erica Chung

(available to read on Granta)

2018: ‘After Half-Time’ by Shamik Ghosh, translated from the Bengali by Subha Prasad Sanyal

(available to read on Granta)

2019: ‘Real Men’ by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, translated from the French by Anna Leader

(available to read on Granta)

Harvill Secker is proud to work with:


The Emerging Literary Translator Mentorships are run by the National Centre for Writing (NCW).  NCW is based at Dragon Hall in Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. The National Centre for Writing promotes great literature, inspires communities through the power of writing, reading and literary translation, nurtures literary talent and hosts world-class events. www.nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk.

Established in 2014, the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities is a collaborative project of UCLA and Waseda University in Tokyo that supports academic and cultural programming and research in the Japanese humanities. www.yanaiinitiative.org

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