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With more entries than ever, more languages than ever (51 – breaking last year’s record of 43), and entrants ranging in age from 8 to 86, this has been a great year for the Times Stephen Spender Prize. Dutch, Bengali and Spanish triumphed in the 14-and-under group, French, German and Portuguese in the 18-and-under category, and Irish, Italian and French in the Open category.
Read the judges’ reports and the winning and commended entries.

Prize Booklet Cover 2012

Annie M.G. Schmidt's Most Beautiful Children's Poems

"The lion is loose! The lion is loose!
He’s strolling down the street."

Fourteen-year-old David Meijer came to live in Britain in 2011. He chose to translate "De leeuw is los!" because, he says, "Annie M.G. Schmidt’s stories play a large role in the life of every Dutch child." Discover what happens when the lion roams London in David’s winning translation.

"You were born dead
and your blue limbs were folded
on the living bier of your mother
the umbilical cord unbroken between you
like an out-of-service phone line."

"A brilliant translation of the wonderful O’Sullivan poem. Well pondered and sensitive to the details of the language of the original… a very worthy winner" – Bernard O’Donoghue. Read more of Kaarina Hollo’s beautiful translation from the Irish of Stillborn 1943: Calling Limbo by Derry O’Sullivan.

Kaarina Hollo, winner of the Open category

Damayanti Chatterjee

"It’s about an ordinary person, who wanted to do something extraordinary. And when all the other ordinary people got their ordinary wish, he, Omolkaanthi, was left without his extraordinary dream."
Damayanti Chatterjee, joint 2nd, 14-and-under category, in her commentary on her translation of the Bengali poem, Omolkaanthi, by Nirendranath Chakraborty

Stephen Walsh, Head of English at Christ’s Hospital School, used the prize as a springboard for a school-wide cross-curriculum project on translation that encompassed history, linguistics, religious studies and biology.

Christ's Hospital students

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.

New Selected Journals

Stephen Spender's New Selected Journals were published by Faber in July.
‘This new book, which supplements rather than supplants the excellent selection Spender himself edited in 1985, covers all aspects of its authors crowded life ... this selection is nicely balanced between the public and the private ... [Spender] may have enjoyed the high life with such friends as the Rothschilds, but as these absorbing, generous and funny journals show, he observed it all with an amused and not uncritical fascination that if anything only increased with age.’
Peter Parker, Daily Telegraph

Listen to Jonathan Barker, Valentine Cunningham and Peter Robinson discuss Mystery Poet Bernard Spencer’s life, work and contemporaries. Bernard Spencer
Bernard Spencer and chanteuse

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