The Sarah Maguire Prize
The 2022 Winner
Exhausted on the Cross by the Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish and translated from Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid has won the 2022 Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation.
Darwish and Abu-Zeid share prize money of £3,000. The winning title was chosen from a shortlist of six books which also included poets from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Korea, Mauritius, Mexico and Syria. The winning bok was published by New York Review Books.
Rosalind Harvey, Chair of Judges, says of Exhausted on the Cross:
‘In its direct, stripped-back lines, the collection demonstrates both the limits and the necessity of language, inviting us to ask, together, how we can move through and beyond suffering.’
Kareem James Abu-Zeid says:
"Winning the Sarah Maguire Prize is a huge honor, even more so because Sarah Maguire herself was such a champion of international poetry in translation. So I'm particularly grateful to receive this prize that bears her name. Najwan and I both poured an immense amount of time and creative energy into Exhausted on the Cross, as did the whole team at NYRB Poets, and it is very rewarding to be recognized for our work by such an esteemed panel of judges."
The 2022 Anthology
This anthology features a generous selection from each of the six titles shortlisted for the Sarah Maguire Prize 2022 prize. This thrilling overview of poetry in translation includes some of the most acclaimed poets and distinguished translators in world literature. Each selection is introduced by the book's publisher and presented in a bilingual format, this year featuring poetry in Arabic, French, Spanish and Korean.
The Sarah Maguire Prize celebrates the legacy of the Poetry Translation Centre’s founder, a leading advocate for poetry in translation. The prize is awarded biennially to the best book of poetry translated into English from Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Latin America, with the prize money split equally between poet and translator.
The 2022 Shortlist
Come, Take a Gentle Stab by Salim Barakat
Translated from Arabic by Huda J. Fakhreddine and Jayson Iwen
Published by Seagull Books
Exhausted on the Cross by Najwan Darwish
Translated from Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
Published by New York Review Books
Migrations: Poem, 1976–2020 by Gloria Gervitz
Translated from Spanish by Mark Schafer
Published by New York Review Books
Unexpected Vanilla by Lee Hyemi
Translated from Korean by Soje
Published by Tilted Axis Books
The River in the Belly by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Translated from French by J. Bret Maney
Published by Deep Vellum
Cargo Hold of Stars: Coolitude by Khal Torabully
Translated from French by Nancy Naomi Carlson
Published by Seagull Books
Chair of the Judges
Rosalind Harvey is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and translator of a number of works including Juan Pablo Villalobos’ debut novel, Down the Rabbit Hole, shortlisted for 2011 Guardian First Book Award and the 2012 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. Her translation of his work I’ll Sell You A Dog was longlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award, and that of his YA title about the journeys of teenage Central American immigrants to the United States was shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize. Harvey is also chair and co-founder of the Emerging Translators Network, and has taught translation at the University of Warwick, the University of Bristol, and the University of Roehampton.
Kyoo Lee is a philosopher, traveller, writer and critic, who currently teaches at the City University of New York where she is Professor of Philosophy. A recipient of faculty fellowships from Cambridge University, CUNY Graduate Center, Ewha Womans University, KIAS, the Mellon Foundation, the NEH, Seoul National University, and Yanbian University, among others, she publishes widely in the interwoven fields of the Arts and the Humanities. Throughout her site-specific philopoetic practices, ‘Q’ explores co-generative links between critical theory and creative prose. A scholar active in editorial fieldwork, she translates from Korean into English.
Kit Fan is a novelist, poet, and critic. Diamond Hill, his debut novel about Hong Kong, is published by Dialogue Books and World Editions in May 2021. His second poetry collection, As Slow As Possible was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and one of the Irish Times Books of the Year. He was shortlisted twice for the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, and a winner of Northern Writers Award, Times Stephen Spender Poetry Translation Prize, and POETRY’s Editors Prize for Reviewing. He translates from Chinese into English.
About the Sarah Maguire Prize
The Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation is an international biennial award for the best book of poetry in English translation by a living poet from beyond Europe. The winning poet and their translator, or translators, will split an award of £3000 between them.
The prize has been established in the memory of the poet Sarah Maguire who was the founder of the Poetry Translation Centre and a champion of international poetry. The aim of the prize is to showcase the very best contemporary poetry from around the world and to champion the art of poetry translation.
The 2022 prize is now open for submissions, and publishers can submit their books for consideration until the deadline of November 30th 2021. Titles eligible for entry must be published between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2021. We will be announcing this year’s judges shortly.
Poet and translator Alireza Abiz, who was the chair of the judging panel in 2020 summed up the importance of the prize: “I think reading the poetry of other nations and other cultures is probably the best way to connect with other human beings on the deepest level – because poetry carries the innermost feelings as well as the intellectual endeavours of other cultures.”
He went on to describe how translated poetry enriches, not just the individual reader, but society as a whole: “Poetry enriches the culture that is receptive to translation. In the UK, very often when we talk about underrepresented languages and cultures we try to depict poetry translation as giving voice to those cultures, which is true but ignores the fact that English culture and the English Language also benefits from translation.”
The 2020 Winner
The winner of the inaugural Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry In Translation was Anniversary Snow by Yang Lian, translated from Chinese by Brian Holton with further translations by WN Herbert, L. Leigh, Liang Lizhen, Pascale Petit, Fiona Sampson, George Szirtes and Joshua Weiner and published by Shearsman Books.
The winner was announced at an online event hosted by the Poetry Translation Centre on Thursday, 25th March 2021. The winning poet, Yang Lian, and his translators shared a prize of £3000.
The shortlist featured books translated from Japanese, Arabic, Korean, Spanish and Chinese. The selection celebrated both the best of modern poetry from across the globe and showcased a range of different translation methodologies highlighting excellence in literary translation.
You can watch videos about the 2020 shortlist on our YouTube Channel.
The 2020 Sarah Maguire Prize judging panel was chaired by Alireza Abiz is an Iranian poet, literary critic and translator. He was joined on the judging team by Leo Boix Latino British poet, translator and journalist and Ida Hadjivayanis, a translator originally from Zanzibar. In choosing their shortlist the judges looked for books that spoke to UK audiences, but which maintained the unique spark of their original texts.
About Sarah Maguire
Sarah Maguire (1957-2017) was the founder of the Poetry Translation Centre and a champion of international poetry.
During a varied career, Sarah worked as a gardener, in prisons, as a Royal Literary Fund fellow at SOAS University of London, and presenting cultural discussions for the BBC. She was a prominent voice within contemporary poetry; publishing several collections including: Spilt Milk (1991), The Invisible Mender (1997), The Florist’s at Midnight (2002), The Pomegranates of Kandahar (2007) and a volume of selected poems, Almost the Equinox (2015).
In the mid-1990s, Sarah was approached by the British Council to be the first writer they sent on outreach trips to Palestine (1996) and Yemen (1998). It was on these visits, encountering Arabic poetry that Maguire developed her passion for poetry translation. She said of the experience: ‘When I arrived in Palestine and first encountered Palestinian poets, I became aware that it was in my power to do something important. Working with poets and translators to present translations in English of Palestinian poetry was possible, and there was hope that the influence of these translations would be far-reaching on readers of English.’
Maguire became a passionate advocate for poetry and translation. In 2004 she established the Poetry Translation Centre and remained as it’s director until shortly before her death.
The Sarah Maguire Prize was established with the support of Sarah’s family and friends to celebrate her passion for international poetry and champion the art of translation.
The Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation is supported by the Estate of Sarah Maguire, the British Council, the Garrick Charitable Trust, Golsoncott Foundation and the kind donations of the friends and family of Sarah Maguire.
If you would like to support the prize you can make a one-off or regular donation to the prize, or to be notified of Sarah Maguire Prize news and other poetry translation updates you can sign up to our newsletter.