Brooklyn writer Erica Chung, 33, has today been named as the winner of this year's Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize 2017. The prize was awarded at the International Translation Day reception at the British Library on 2 October 2017.
Now in its eighth year, the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize aims to recognise the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers. It is an annual prize, which focuses on a different language each year and is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34, with no restriction on country of residence. This year's chosen language was Korean, with entrants asked to translate the short story by acclaimed author Han Yujoo.
For winning, Erica receives £1,000 and a selection of Vintage titles. She will also take part in a Writers’ Centre Norwich Emerging Translator Mentorship, presented in association with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, with acclaimed translator and judge of this year’s prize Deborah Smith.
Erica’s winning translation, Seven People with the Same Name and their Discrete Moments by Han Yujoo, will be available to read on the Granta website shortly.
On receiving her award, Erica said: ‘I am honoured and grateful to be awarded the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. In an era when difference seems to catalyse more division than understanding, literary translation remains a critical bridge for the cultivation of empathy, as well as a bulwark of the rich cultural diversity that is our global inheritance. In light of this, I feel incredibly privileged to be able to contribute, in my own small way, to the growing repository of translated literature in the world, especially through the year-long mentorship with Deborah Smith made possible by the prize. I’d like to reiterate my sincere thanks to Harvill Secker, to Deborah Smith, and to all of this year’s judges once more for this wonderful opportunity.’
The judges – Deborah Smith, Jonathan Morley and Ellie Steel – commented: ‘It’s exciting to see such strength in a language that’s still relatively untranslated, and there was a real variety of approaches to translating Han Yujoo’s richly detailed story. Erica’s translation stood out for its fluency and assuredness in treating the story as a work of literature.’
The runner-up is a co-translation by Narei Choi and Sunhee Jeong.
Find out more about the Harvill Secker Young translator's prize