Harvill Secker Young Translators Prize logo

We are delighted to announce that the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize is now open for entry. This year the focus language is French and entrants will translate an excerpt from the novel De purs hommes by Senegalese author Mohamed Mbougar Sarr.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. The annual 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. Please refer to the entry form for full terms and conditions. 

Harvill Secker is delighted to be continuing its partnership with the National Centre for Writing. This year’s winner will be mentored by renowned translator Sarah Ardizzone as part of a National Centre for Writing Emerging Translator Mentorship, presented in association with the Institut français du Royaume-Uni and Beyond Words Festival.

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

Entries will be judged by translator Sarah Ardizzone, writer and editor Nii Ayikwei Parkes, bookseller Gary Michael Perry and Harvill Secker editor and prize coordinator Mikaela Pedlow. The winner will be announced on the evening of 30th September 2019 at International Translation Day at the Free Word Centre in London. 

How to enter

Deadline for entries: Friday 30 August 2019

Please note entries must be received by this date: late entries, regardless of postmark, will not be considered.

You must be between 18 and 34 years of age on the submission deadline. For further terms and conditions please see the entry form.

Print the entry form here (you will need Acrobat Reader to do so)

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

Simply send your completed entry form with your translated text to the postal address provided on the entry form. Please note that we are unable to consider entries submitted by email.

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

About Mohamed Mbougar Sarr

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, born in 1990, attended the prestigious military school Prytanée Militaire in Saint-Louis, Senegal, before moving to France, where he is currently studying at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris. His first novel, Terre ceinte (Présence africaine, 2015) received the Ahmadou Kourouma literary prize as well as the Grand Prix du Roman Métis. In 2018, he became the youngest writer to have been awarded the World Literature Prize, for his second novel Silence du choeur (Présence africaine, 2017), selected by a jury of authors including Ananda Devi, Boualem Sansal, Dany Laferrière and Atiq Rahimi. De purs hommes (Philippe Rey, 2018) is his third novel.

The Judges

Sarah Ardizzone


Sarah Ardizzone is an award-winning translator. She has a special interest in sharp dialogue, multi-ethnic slang and in what Alain Mabanckou calls ‘a world literature in French’. Recently, she has been developing live multilingual performances with writers, illustrators and musicians for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Co-founder of Translators in Schools, she curates programmes promoting a creative approach to translation, including Translation Nation, The Spectacular Translation Machine and The Big Translate. Sarah is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at King’s College London, and co-chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation committee. Her translation of Petit pays (Small Country, Hogarth Press), by Burundian-born Franco-Rwandan hip-hop poet Gaël Faye, is a 2019 finalist for the French-American Foundation Translation Prize and the Albertine Prize.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a Ghanaian writer and editor who has won acclaim for his work as a children’s writer, poet, broadcaster and novelist. Winner of multiple international awards including Ghana’s ACRAG award, his novel Tail of the Blue Bird won two major French translation prizes, Prix Baudelaire and Prix Laure Bataillon, in 2014. Following roles at the University of Southampton, California State University and the University of Aberystwyth, Nii Ayikwei was founding director of the Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing in Accra, before taking his current role as Producer of Literature and Talks at Brighton Festival. He has been the senior editor at flipped eye publishing since 2001, publishing a leading crop of poets from the UK, including Nick Makoha, Malika Booker, Niall O'Sullivan, Jacob Sam-La Rose and Warsan Shire. 

Gary Michael Perry

Gary Michael Perry

Gary Michael Perry is Head of the Fiction Department at Foyles’ flagship store on Charing Cross Road, where he works to promote fiction in translation. He also advises the editorial board of New Books in German at the Goethe-Institut London.

Mikaela Pedlow


Mikaela Pedlow is 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 a two-time Penguin Random House WriteNow mentor and the coordinator of the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize.


Previous winners of the Young Translators’ Prize:

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

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

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

2015The Tattoo by Maciej Miłkowski, translated from the Polish by Tul’si Bhambry

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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