Max Porter, Maureen Freely in judging panel line-up for 2020 Translation Prizes

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.
Max Porter, winner of the 2016 Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award, to judge the TA First Translation Prize for 2020 alongside writer and translator Maureen Freely and prize sponsor and translator Daniel Hahn.

The TA First Translation Prize, for debut translation from any language, closes for submission on 1 August 2020 and is part of the annual SoA Translation Prizes celebration. The 2020 Translation Prizes – offering £13,000 in awards to works of outstanding translation – will be presented in 2021.

Speaking of the judging process, Paula Johnson, Head of Prizes and Awards, said:

The Society of Authors is proud of its long connection to the prizes for translation, supported, vitally, by a small collection of embassies, cultural organisations and individuals. Some we’ve been privileged to work on for 50+ years, others are more recent and all celebrate and promote essential cultural links. The prize judges read each entry both in the original language and in the English translation and their dedication is integral to these awards as they aim to reward and bring special focus to the latest and best translations into English from around the world.

Judges for the 2020 Translation Prizes

TA First Translation Prize – for debut translation from any language. Generously sponsored by Daniel Hahn and the British Council.

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator. He is a past chair of the Translators Association and of the Society of Authors.

Maureen Freely is a writer with seven novels to her name and many other strings to her bow. Well known as a translator of the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, she has also brought into English several classics and works by Turkey’s rising stars. For many years she worked as a journalist in London, writing about literature, social justice, and human rights. As chair of the Translators Association and more recently as President and Chair of English PEN, she has campaigned for writers and freedom of expression internationally. She teaches at the University of Warwick.

Max Porter is the author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers and Lanny. His novels have been translated into 30 languages. He was previously Editorial Director at Granta Books.

The Schlegel-Tieck Prize – for translation from the German. Generously sponsored by the Goethe-Institut.

Steffan Davies is a Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Bristol, whose interest in language-switching and translation began with a bilingual upbringing in English and Welsh. His teaching and research is on Germany’s literature and culture from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. He is currently writing a book about German exile literature since the French Revolution and is one of the editors of German Life and Letters.

Dora Osborne teaches German at the University of St Andrews. She has published much on recent German literature, including the work of W. G. Sebald, and her research considers the legacy of National Socialism in contemporary Germany and Austria.

The Scott Moncrieff Prize – for translation from the French. Generously sponsored by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni.

Aude Campmas’ research has explored the relationship between natural history and literature whether in respect of women represented as monstrous flowers in Emile Zola or femininity and the octopus in the writings of Victor Hugo. The theme of the monstrous also underpins her analysis of contemporary theatre in relation to Marie Ndiaye and Wajdi Mouawad. As a Lecturer in French Studies at the University of Southampton, Campmas has been exploring these themes through research and teaching since 2013. She is also the director of the Southampton French Theatre Club which specialises on theatre and translation and prepares an annual bilingual performance based on innovative ways of translating ideas, feelings and texts.

Peter Dunwoodie MA, PhD French & English, University of Edinburgh, is an academic and translator. With numerous publications in the specialist area of C19th and C20th French and francophone literature in France, Algeria and the Caribbean, he is Emeritus Professor, English & Comparative Literature, at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Premio Valle Inclán – for translation from the Spanish.

Imogen Choi is Associate Professor of Spanish Literature at Exeter College, University of Oxford. She specialises in early modern Spanish and colonial American literature, and in 2019 co-edited The Rise of Spanish American Poetry, 1500-1700: Literary and Cultural Transmission in the New World (Oxford: Legenda). Her next book, The Epic Mirror: Conflict Ethics and Political Community in Colonial Peru, 1569-1609, won the 2017 AHGBI doctoral thesis prize and will be appearing with Tamesis in 2021. She particularly enjoys writing and teaching on literary translation and adaptation, so is excited to be judging this year’s prize.

James Womack is a poet and translator from Russian and Spanish. Most recently he has translated Manuel Vislas’ Heaven (Carcanet, 2020) and Aleksandr Tvardovsky’s Vasili Tyorkin (Smokestack, 2020). He is the author of two collections of poetry, Misprint (2012) and On Trust: A Book of Lies (2017). A third collection, Homunculus, will be published this autumn. He has recently returned from a decade spent in Spain, and now lives in Cambridge, where he teaches Spanish literature, translation and study skills at Cambridge University.

John Florio Prize – for translation from the Italian. Generously sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute.

Robert Gordon is Serena Professor of Italian at Cambridge University. He works on the literature, cinema and cultural history of modern Italy. He is the author or editor of over a dozen volumes, including a major study of the writer and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (Pasolini. Forms of Subjectivity), several books on the work of Primo Levi (e.g. Primo Levi’s Ordinary Virtues, Auschwitz Report, The Cambridge Companion to Primo Levi, Innesti) and a general account of modern Italian literature, A Difficult Modernity: An Introduction to Twentieth-Century Italian Literature. He has taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, is a former Senior Editor of the journal Italian Studies, and a member of the Council of the British School at Rome. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2015.

Rosa Mucignat is Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at King’s College London. Her research focuses on the relation between literature and place, and her publications include work on the European realist novel, the idea of Italy in Romantic culture, and the geography of world literature. She has an interest in dialect literature, especially in relation to Friulian, a minority language spoken in Northeast Italy. She is editor of The Friulian Language: Identity, Migration, Culture (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014) and her co-translation of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s play The Turks in Friuli (with Cristina Viti) has appeared in PMLA in 2020. Currently she is working on a database of radical translations between France, Britain and Italy during the French Revolution (

Find out more about the Translation Prizes here.

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If you missed the 2022 Translation Prizes award ceremony, you can watch the live stream, find out the winners and see photographs from the event at The British Library here