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The Stephen Spender Prize 2020 for poetry in translation
in association with the Guardian

Adult prize guidelines (over 18s)

We would especially like to welcome newcomers to the open category of our Prize, so this year there will be special commendations for the best first-time entries received. For tips and inspiration, watch out for our downloadable resource on translating your first poem, which will be published here soon.

Please submit an English translation of a published poem from any language, together with a commentary of no more than 300 words. The translation should be max. 60 lines (extracts are accepted).

The poem you translate can be from any language, ancient or modern. We want to celebrate poetry in all its forms and genres—texts from rap, spoken word and slam poetry are eligible and very welcome. Entries must still be in written form, but any commended entrants from rap/spoken word/slam genres would later be invited to make a video, should they wish, for publication on our website and social media channels.

We also welcome BSL entries. A BSL video of the original poem can be submitted, although the translation itself should still be in written form.

How to enter

To enter online, please first fill in our online submission form, then send the original and translated versions of your poem, together with your commentary, as WORD documents to making the subject of your email SST Poetry Prize plus the category you are entering (for example: SST Poetry Prize Open)

To enter by post, please download the entry form, and send this together with the original and translated versions of your poem, and commentary to

The Stephen Spender Trust,
PO Box 1618,
Oxford, OX4 9LW,
United Kingdom.

Please read the Terms and Conditions and FAQs before submitting your entry.


Khairani Barokka, Mary Jean Chan, Daljit Nagra.

Prizes in the open category

£1000 (1st)

£750 (2nd)

£500 (3rd)

All winners will be invited to an awards ceremony in central London in November 2020 (provided that Covid-19 circumstances permit).

Entry fee

£8 for each translation, payable via PayPal. This is the preferred payment method, but we can accept cheques if you are unable to pay via PayPal.

Entry details
Name of entrant
Title of first poem


If you have any queries, please see the FAQs, Terms and Conditions, or contact .