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

Submissions to the 2020 Stephen Spender Prize are now closed.

Youth Prize entry guidelines

Please submit an English translation of a published poem from any language, together with a commentary of no more than 300 words: giving 3 examples of difficult decisions that you had to make when translating the poem, and explaining how you overcame them.

For example, the commentary could discuss:

  • A particular word or phrase which presented a challenge to translate
  • A cultural reference which needed to be adapted in translation
  • Any particular problems presented by the style/form of the original poem. For example, if the original is in a particular form — rhyme or a regular metre — was it possible to preserve that form in English, or did you decide to make changes?

Please note that the commentary will be judged on content rather than style. The translation should be no more than 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.

See our resources hub for suggested poems, videos and more, our YouTube channel for mini masterclasses and testimonials, and our downloadable PDF resource for newcomers to poetry translation.

Inspired by the innovative approaches we have seen from educators in previous years, we are also introducing a special reward for up to three teachers who show an exceptional engagement in the Prize.

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

Our GDPR Privacy Policy for the Stephen Spender Prize can be found here.


Khairani Barokka, Mary Jean Chan, Daljit Nagra.


14-and-under category: £75 (1st), £50 (2nd), £25 (3rd)

16-and-under category: £125 (1st), £75 (2nd), £40 (3rd)

18-and-under category: £200 (1st), £100 (2nd), £50 (3rd)

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

Entry to the youth prize is free


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