Frequently asked questions
If you have a question about the Stephen Spender Prize, check this list of Frequently Asked Questions. If your query is not answered, please contact us and we will do our best to answer your question.
How old do I have to be to enter?
You can be any age! The Stephen Spender Prize has categories for 14-and-under, 16-and-under, 18-and-under, and open (adult).
If you are under 13 years of age your parent or guardian will need to give permission for you to enter. Without this permission we are not allowed to keep information about you, such as your contact details, due to data protection rules introduced in 2018. You can find the permission form on our website.
Teachers should not use the permission form, but instead comply with their own organisation’s GDPR policy. If you have any questions please contact us.
If I’m at school or studying in the UK or Ireland do I count as a resident?
For the purposes of this competition, yes.
Is the competition free to enter?
The competition is free for under-18s, in other words, for all our youth categories, and £9 per entry for adults.
How do I enter online?
You can enter online via our submission portal.
How do I enter by post?
To enter by post, send your entry or entries (including the original poem, your translation and commentary, and a completed entry form) to the following address:
Stephen Spender Trust
PO Box 1618
Do you accept collaborations?
Yes, we accept collaborations so long as all the contributors are listed. If the collaboration involves entrants from more than one age group the entry will be judged in the category of the elder or eldest entrant.
How will I find out if I have won?
The winners will be notified by the end of September 2021 and invited to our virtual awards ceremony. All other entrants who have provided a valid email address will be notified when the results are announced on the Stephen Spender Trust website in November 2021.
Can an entry comprise more than one poem if the poems are short and the total does not exceed 60 lines?
No. Translations of separate poems must be submitted as separate entries.
Are epigraphs, dedications and line spaces between verses counted as lines?
No. The 60-line limit applies only to the lines of the original poem and translation.
Can I enter if I am not fluent in the language of the original poem?
If you don’t speak or read the language of the original poem fluently and need to consult a literal, or a crib, it is important to include this fact in your commentary. If you have used an existing translation by someone else in any way (even for comparison) it is important also to include this information in your commentary. The Stephen Spender Prize accepts only original works of translation. If you have drawn extensively on another person’s translation then you should not enter your translation for the prize.
Why do you require a commentary?
One of the aims of this competition is to shine light on translators and the translation process. We want to hear from you: what challenges you encountered during the translation process, and how you’ve solved them.
Do I need to clear permission from the copyright holder of the original poem before I submit my entry?
No. If you win or are commended, we will be responsible for clearing permission to publish your translation and the original poem online and in the prize booklet.
May I submit more than one translation of the same poem?
Yes, so long as each translation is submitted as a separate entry.
May I submit a translation that I have submitted previously to this competition?
Does a translation that I’ve posted on Facebook, in a blog or in a school magazine count as having been published? What about if it has been read or sung in an online video?
If your translation has appeared anywhere in print or online, we consider it to have been published.
May I submit my translation to other competitions or publications at the same time as entering it in the Stephen Spender Prize?
Yes, but it’s not a good idea. If you win or are commended in the Stephen Spender Prize you will need to withdraw your translation elsewhere. Similarly, if your translation wins another competition or is published elsewhere before the results of the Stephen Spender Prize are announced, you will have to withdraw your entry and your entry fee will not be refunded.
What will happen if my original poem and/or translation exceed 60 lines or my commentary exceeds 300 words?
Your entry will be invalid and your entry fee will not be refunded.
I sent the wrong version of my translation. Can I make changes to the version I sent you or swap it for another one?
No. If you want to submit a corrected or more recent version it will have to be as a separate entry.
Do you accept currencies other than sterling?
Payment must be in pounds sterling. Entries accompanied by payment in a currency other than pounds sterling will not be accepted.
If I enter by post, will my entry be returned after the judging process?
Postal entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
For postal entries, do I need to complete an entry form for each entry?
You need fill in only one entry form for each batch of postal entries. However, entries posted separately require separate entry forms.
How can I pay if I’m entering by post?
Please pay using PayPal if you can, however, if you are not able to, we can still accept cheques sent to this address, payable to the Stephen Spender Trust. We cannot accept cash. Please write your name and address on the back of cheques. Payment must be in pounds sterling. Entries accompanied by payment in a currency other than pounds sterling will not be accepted.
What happens if I forget to enclose the original poem or a commentary with my translation?
Your entry will be invalid.
How do I know that you have received my entry?
If you enter using our online submission portal, it will give you confirmation that the entry has been submitted. To receive acknowledgment of receipt of postal entries you will need to enclose a stamped addressed envelope or give your email address on the enclosed entry form. Entries are logged in batches, so please do not expect instant acknowledgment of postal entries.
I am a teacher and wish to submit multiple (for example, more than 10) entries online. Is there a way to do this without filling in the online submission form multiple times?
Yes. There is a ‘bulk’ submission option for up to 30 entries at a time. The link to this is on the prize submission page.