Bringing stories across borders
A new prize to encourage more international children’s books to be translated into the English language is being launched next month.
The Found in Translation competition is seeking the most promising samples of international fiction translated into English for the very first time.
The organisation behind it, Rights People, wants to create a new anthology of literary translation samples selected from the most promising international children’s fiction currently unpublished in the English language.
And its reach is truly global: submissions are open to every publisher in every language throughout the world.
While there are plenty of prizes for literature in translation out there, the majority of them focus on adult fiction, and on books already published in the English language.
“We wanted to find fresh, unique and fantastic stories for children – stories that are just waiting to be shared – and to make those accessible to all editors and publishers interested in the best books for children,” Rights People said.
Despite the diversity of children’s fiction, the UK lags behind its European neighbours when it comes to translated books.
Just 4.5% of children’s literature in the UK is in translation, compared with close to 50% in many European markets.
Speaking to the Bookseller, Rights People spokeswoman Rachel Richardson said: “We’re hoping to get more children’s books published in the English language in translation.
“I’d really love it if we could discover new classics. I’m sure they’re out there so we decided to create the prize to find them.”
The judging panel includes award-winning translator Anthea Bell (known for her translations of the Asterix comic series), and publishers Barry Cunningham (Chicken House) and Adam Freudenheim (Pushkin Press).
Submissions for the prize open in January 2014, with the winners to be announced at the 2015 Bologna Book Fair.
Professional literary translation samples of the winning titles will be included in the Found in Translation anthology, with the winners also receiving an offer of representation from Rights People.
One of the UK’s longest-running prizes for children’s literature in translation is the Marsh Award, which was set up in 1996. The biennial prize was founded to celebrate the best translation of a children’s book from a foreign language into English and published in the UK.
This year’s winner was Howard Curtis for his translation from the original Italian of Fabio Geda’s In the Sea there are Crocodiles. The story is based on the real-life experiences of a young Afghan boy who travelled halfway around the world to find safety and a new life.