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The 2014 Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Prize, our worldwide Russian–English poetry translation competition, is open for entries.

Judged by Sasha Dugdale, Catriona Kelly and Glyn Maxwell, and now in association with The London Magazine, this biennial prize celebrates the long friendship between Joseph Brodsky and Stephen Spender and the rich tradition of Russian poetry. The prizes are: £1,500 (first), £1,000 (second) and £500 (third).

In early June at the University of Roehampton, a second cohort of translators took part in stage 2 of the Translators in Schools professional development programme, this time working with children from Hillcross Primary School who rose admirably to the task of translating books from Bulgarian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish and Spanish.

Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski,
winners of the 2012 Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Prize

They turned the table to the light. I lay
Upside down, like meat slapped onto a scale;
My soul swayed, dangling on a string.
I saw myself from the side:
Balanced without makeweights
Against a fat mass from the market.


Was in the middle of a snow shield,
Chipped along its western edge,
Surrounded by icy swamps,
By trees on broken legs,
And railroad halts with their skulls
Cracked open, looking black
Beneath their snowy caps, some double,
And some triple.

from ‘Field Hospital’ by Arseny Tarkovsky
Translated by Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski

Translation Nation, our joint venture with Eastside Educational Trust, has run workshops in 18 schools this year, ten primary and eight secondary. Amid much laughter the older children in Newham, Islington, Enfield, Westminster, Northampton and Kent sub-titled French and Spanish films while the younger ones translated folk tales from other cultures, turning them into plays that they then performed.

The Stephen Spender Trust promotes literary translation and widens knowledge about Stephen Spender and his circle of writers by means of readings, talks and a seminar series in partnership with the Institute of English Studies.

Translators in Schools workshop

“The Translators in Schools workshop at Roehampton was one of those professional opportunities that changes you. It opened up a whole new realm of possibilities in the classroom. It was priceless. The children raved about the workshop on the way back to school; they shared it with a passion and urgency that demonstrated a fundamental shift in thinking and perception."

Mike Flowers (Head of Year)
Hillcross Primary School, Merton

Translators in Schools workshop

If you speak English and at least one other language and are interested in taking part in the next round of Translators in Schools training in early 2015, please click here to register your interest.

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