Young Translators' Prize


Harvill Secker is delighted to announce Eleanor Collins as the winner of the 2014 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. Eleanor was awarded her prize at The Times Cheltenham Literary Festival on 4th October 2014, following a special translation duel event between judges Shaun Whiteside and Sally-Ann Spencer.


Eleanor receives £1,000, a selection of Harvill Secker titles, and she will participate in the British Centre for Literary Translation’s six-month mentorship scheme with judge and translator Shaun Whiteside, in association with the Goethe-Institut London. Eleanor will also travel to the Hague, to take part in The Chronicles programme, which brings together young authors and translators at Crossing Border Festival.

Eleanor is a final year undergraduate student in Modern Languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, specialising in German and French.

Receiving her award from Harvill Secker editor Ellie Steel, Eleanor said: ‘I am so delighted to have been awarded the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize – it came as such a shock! Having the opportunity to learn from other translators and discover more about the art of translation itself will be a great experience, and one that I’m really looking forward to. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work with Shaun Whiteside and to take part in the BCLT mentorship scheme.’

Now in its fifth year, the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize aims to recognise and celebrate the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers. The prize is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34, with no restriction on country of residence. It was launched in 2010 as part of Harvill Secker’s centenary celebrations, and is an annual prize, which focuses on a different language each year. This year’s chosen language is German, and entrants were asked to translate into English ‘Der Hausfreund’, a short story by Harvill Secker author Julia Franck. Eleanor’s winning translation is available to read online on the Granta website here.

The judges commented: ‘We were very impressed by the high standard – and number – of entries this year. What singled out Eleanor’s translation was the way she captured the tone of the youthful narrator, with a fresh and engaging voice.’

Our runner-up is Jozef van der Voort, and there were a total of 210 entries from 26 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Ukraine and USA.

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About Julia Franck

Julia Franck was born in Berlin in 1970. Her novel The Blind Side of the Heart won the German Book Prize and sold over a million copies in Germany alone. It was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize, and was named one of the best books of the year by the Guardian. Back to Back was longlisted for the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and her third novel to be translated into English, West, is being published by Harvill Secker on 30th October. (Photo: Thorsten Greve)

The Judges

Shaun Whiteside (translator)

Shaun WhitesideShaun Whiteside has translated over 50 books from German, French, Italian and Dutch, including novels by Amélie Nothomb, Wu Ming, Bernhard Schlink, Marcel Möring and Tiziano Scarpa and, with Jamie Lee Searle, 1913 by Florian Illies. His translations of Freud, Musil, Schnitzler and Nietzsche are published by Penguin Classics, and his translation of Magdalena the Sinner by Lilian Faschinger won the 1996 Schlegel-Tieck Prize. A former chair of the Translators Association, he sits on the editorial board of New Books in German, the Advisory Panel of the British Centre for Literary Translation and the PEN Writers in Translation Committee, and is on the board of CEATL, the European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations. He takes regular translation workshops for the London Review of Books and at Birkbeck College’s Translation Summer School, Use Your Language, Use Your English. (Photo: Jane Chilvers)

Sally-Ann Spencer (translator)

Sally-Ann Spencer is a translator, editor and literary curator. She recently returned from New Zealand, where she organized a year-long festival of translation events and translated authors including Juli Zeh. A former editor of New Books in German, she has served as a judge for the Schlegel-Tieck Prize and is an executive member of the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation. She is currently completing a PhD on German literature in translation and has published on the role of prizes in the circulation of translated fiction.


Ellie Steel (editor)

Ellie Steel is an editor at Harvill Secker. Her authors include Manuel Rivas, Enrique Vila-Matas, Karin Fossum, Geert Mak and Andrey Kurkov. Ellie is the coordinator of the annual Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize, and the editor of the ‘A View from This Bridge’ blog here.

Click here to find our more about previous competitions.

BCLT  goethe Crossing Border fest