Italian – John Florio Prize

The John Florio Prize is a biennial award for translations into English of full length Italian works of literary merit and general interest. The winner is awarded £3,000 and a runner-up is awarded £1,000.

Established in 1963 and named for the writer-translator John Florio, who lived in London 1555-1625, the prize is generously sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute and the Society of Authors.

The 2022 John Florio Prize is now closed for submissions.

Submissions will reopen in 2024

The 2022 John Florio Prize Winner and Runner-Up

Nicholas Benson and Elena Coda for a translation of My Karst and My City by Scipio Slataper (University of Toronto Press) 

J Ockenden for a translation of Snow, Dog, Foot by Claudio Morandini (Peirene Press) 
Tim Parks for translations of The House on The Hill and The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese (Penguin Press) 

  • The deadline for submissions is 28 February 2022.
  • Entries must be translations from Italian into English.
  • The original must have been first published in the last 150 years.
  • The translation must have been first published in the UK in 2020 and 2021.
  • Full Terms and Conditions will be listed at the start of the entry form.
  • Presented at a ceremony in 2023.

For any queries relating to the prize please contact [email protected]

2022 (presented 2023)

Winner: Nicholas Benson and Elena Coda for a translation of My Karst and My City by Scipio Slataper (University of Toronto Press)
Runner-up: J Ockenden for a translation of Snow, Dog, Foot by Claudio Morandini (Peirene Press)
Runner-up: Tim Parks for translations of The House on The Hill and The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese (Penguin Press)

Elena Pala for a translation The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Orion)
Stash Luczkwi for a translation of Without Ever Reaching the Summit by Paolo Cognetti (Harvill Secker, Penguin Random House UK)
Stephen Twilley for a translation of Diary of a Foreigner in Paris by Curzio Malaparte (New York Review Books)

2020 (presented 2021)

Winner: Jhumpa Lahiri for her translation of Trick by Domenico Starnone (Europa Editions)

Runner-up: Jenny McPhee for her translation of The Kremlin Ball by Curzio Malaparte (New York Review Books)
Shortlistees: Anne Milano Appel for a translation of A Devil Comes to Town by Paolo Maurensig (World Editions)
Ekin Oklap for a translation of Flowers Over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) 
Taije Silverman and Marina Della Putta Johnson for a translation of Selected Poems of Giovanni Pascoli by Giovanni Pascoli (Princeton University Press)
Howard Curtis for a translation of Soul of the Border by Matteo Righetto (Pushkin Press) 

2018 (presented 2019)

Winner: Gini Alhadeff for her translation of I Am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy (And Other Stories)
Runner-up: Cristina Viti for her translation of Stigmata by Gëzim Hajdari (Shearsman Books)
Shortlistees: Jamie McKendrick for his translation of Within the Walls by Giorgio Bassani (Penguin Classics)
Mario Petrucci for his translation of Xenia by Eugenio Montale (Arc Publications)
Cristina Viti for her translation of The World Saved by Kids by Elsa Morante (Seagull Books)

2016 (presented 2017)

Winner: Jamie McKendrick for his translation of Archipelago by Antonella Anedda (Bloodaxe Books)
Commended: Richard Dixon for his translation of Numero Zero by Umberto Eco (Harvill Secker/Vintage)
2014 (presented 2015)
Winner: Patrick Creagh for his translation of Memory Of The Abyss by Marcello Fois (MacLehose Press) 
Commended: Cristina Viti for her translation of A Life Apart by Mariapia Veladiano (MacLehose Press)


Winner: Anne Milano Appel for her translation of Scent of a Woman (pictured centre) by Giovanni Arpino (Penguin Classics)
Commended: Howard Curtis for his translation of In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (Harvill Secker)
Commended: Shaun Whiteside for his translation of Stabat Mater (pictured far right) by Tiziano Scarpa (Serpant’s Tail)


Jamie McKendrick for The Embrace: Selected Poems by Valerio Magrelli (Faber)
Runner-up: Abigail Asher for The Natural Order of Things by Andrea Canobbio (MacLehose Press)


Winner: Peter Robinson for the greener meadow by Luciano Erba (Princeton University Press)
Runner up: Alastair McEwen for Turning Back the Clock by Umberto Eco (Harvill Secker)


Winner: Carol O’Sullivan and Martin Thom for Kuraj by Silvia Di Natale (Bloomsbury)
Runner up: Aubrey Botsford for The Ballad of the Low Lifes by Enrico Remmert (Toby Press)


Winner: Howard Curtis for Coming Back by Edoardo Albinati (Hesperus Press)


Winner: Stephen Sartarelli for Prince of the Clouds by Gianni Riotta (HarperCollins)
and Alastair McEwen for Senior Service by Carlo Feltrinelli (Granta Books)


Winner: Martin McLaughlin for Why Read the Classics? by Italo Calvino Jonathan (Cape)


Winner: Joseph Farrell for Take-Off by Daniele del Giudice (Harvill)


Winner: Emma Rose for His Mother’s House by Marta Morazzoni (Harvill)


Winner: Tim Parks for The Road to San Giovanni by Italo Calvino (Jonathan Cape)


Winner: William Weaver for The Dust Roads of Monferrato by Rosetta Loy (Collins) and Tim Parks forSweet Days of Disciplone by Fleur Jaeggy (Heinemann)


Winner: Patrick Creagh for Danube by Claudio Magris (Collins Harvill) and Patrick Creagh for Blind Argus by Gesualdo Bufalino (Collins Harvill)


Winner: J.G. Nichols for The Colloquies of Guido Gozzano (Carcanet)


Winner: Avril Bardoni for The Wine Dark Sea by Leonardo Sciascia (Carcanet)


Winner: Bruce Penman for China by Gildo Fossati (New English Library)


Winner: Christopher Holme for EBLA by Paolo Matthiae


Winner: Julian Mitchell for Henry IV by Pirandello


Winner: Quintin Hoare for Selections from Political Writings 1921-26 by Antonio Gramsci


Winner: Ruth Feldman & Brian Swann for Shema, Collected Poems of Primo Levi


Winner: Frances Frenaye for The Forests of Norbio by Guiseppe Dessi (Menard Press)


Winner: Cormack O’Cuilleanain for Cagliostro by Roberto Gervaso (Gollancz)


Winner: Stephen M. Hellman for Letters from inside the Italian Communist Party by Maria Antonietta Macciocchi (New Left Books)


Winner: Bernard Wall and Wrestling with Christ by Luigi Santucci (Collins)


Winner: Patrick Creagh for Selected Poems by Giuseppe Ungaretti (Penguin)


Winner: William Weaver for The Heron by Giorgio Bassani (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and for Time and the Hunter by Italo Calvino (Jonathan Cape)


Winner: Angus Davidson for On Neoclassicism by Mario Praz (Thames & Hudson)


Winner: Sacha Rabinovitch for Francis Bacon, from Magic to Science by Paolo Rossi (Routledge & Kegan Paul) and William Weaver for A Violent Life by Pier Pasolini (Jonathan Cape)


Winner: Muriel Grindrod for The Popes in the 20th Century by Carol Falconi (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and Raleigh Trevelyan for
The Outlaws by Luigi Meneghello (Michael Joseph)


Winner: Isabel Quigly for The Transfers by Silvano Ceccherini (Eyre & Spottiswoode)


Winner: Stuart Woolf for The Truce by Primo Levi (The Bodley Head) and Jane Grigson & Father Kenelm Foster for The Column of Infamy of Crime and Punishments prefaced by Allesandro Manzoni & Cesare Beccaria (OUP)


Winner: W.H. Darwell for Dongo, The Last Act by P.L. Belline delle Stelli & U. Lazzaro (Macdonald)


Winner: Angus Davidson More Roman Tales by Alberto Moravia, Professor E.R. Vincent for A Diary of One of Garibaldi’s Thousands by G. C. Abbas and H.S. Vere-Hodge for The Odes of Dante


Winner: Donata Origo for The Deserter by Guiseppe Dessi and Eric Mosbacher for Hekura by Fosco Maraini


Elena Minelli
The seven books shortlisted are excellent samples of different literary genres: fiction, classic literature and academic books. They all present significant challenges in terms of grammar, lexis and style. All the translators were able to transfer beautifully and accurately the poetic tones, while retaining the content of the original texts.

Mario Petrucci
Re-stating the cliché often espoused by judges, it’s always extremely difficult to compare – on any linear/scalar spectrum of ‘winner/non-winner’ – the complex merits of so various a collection of books. How does one rate, for instance, a limpid, luminous account of a Himalayan pilgrimage against a detailed, highly-wrought treatise on Italian Modernism? That’s where having complementary judges really helped to disentangle the Gordian, combining my own long-term experience as Anglo-Italian author and translator with Elena’s expert academic view as Italian linguist and translation teacher. We found ourselves constantly revisiting that eternal conundrum of translation: how to assess the thermoplastic dynamic between fidelity and flair, creative freedom and accuracy. I sometimes think of translation as an arranged marriage between graft and craft, othertimes as a tricky love affair between two languages who live quite close to each other but can never wholly consummate! We know that no translation, however meticulous or ingenious, can ever attain perfect oneness with its original, and it’s clear that all our translators grappled variously with the profound challenges of capturing tone, dialect, and (a feature of translations too often overlooked) rhythm. Yes, it’s easy to tell when translations go wildly wrong, as in this example reputedly signposted in a Nairobi restaurant: “Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager”. Unintentional humour is probably a translator’s worst nightmare; but, even in our best efforts, we can get most of the words mostly right only to discover that the tiniest lapse throws everything off. Glaring miscalculations aside, the efficiency and sonority of a literary translation depends on a highly complex transaction, a multi-level negotiation involving common sense, creative nuance, the vicissitudes of trial and error, and plain hard work. Moreover, any judgement of outcome is necessarily subjective: how far does an individual reader/judge tolerate, for instance, any ‘rewriting’ or licence in the target language? In testing translators, then, one has to humbly test one’s own (sometimes most ambiguous, most hazy) limits. Wittgenstein wrote: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”. All the shortlisted and winning books in this particular John Florio year resoundingly deserved their place; but let’s welcome them now into that larger enterprise for which this prize is such a significant host: the ongoing, crucial work of valuing translations and translators that continues to enlarge us all.