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The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators
The Translation Exchange launched a brand new competition for schools in Autumn Term 2020. The competition is inspired by the life and work of the great translator Anthea Bell. It aims to promote language learning across the UK and to inspire creativity in the classroom. By providing teachers with the tools they need to bring translation to life, we hope to motivate more pupils to study modern foreign languages throughout their time at school and beyond.

Entries to the Anthea Bell Competition 2022 are now closed. Thank you so much to everyone who took part. Click here to find the list of 398 winners and commendees from all over the UK!

Below you'll find legacy information about how the prize worked in 2021-22. We'll soon be publishing info about the 2022-23 prize.

Complete this online form to register your interest in the prize in 2022-23. All registered teachers will receive three sets of teaching resources across four levels for French (including French-Welsh), German, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish.


The Anthea Bell Prize 2021-22

Teaching packs are available in 4 levels in 5 languages (French, German, Italian [new!], Mandarin, Spanish), covering all year groups at secondary school from age 11 to 18. 

In 2021-22 the competition ran for the first time from French into Welsh; teaching resources aimed at pupils studying French at the beginning and end of Key Stage 3 are available in Welsh and English. Teaching resources on translating Italian poetry and fiction will be available for all levels and we hope to add Italian to our list of languages for the competition.

All those who register their interest receive teaching packs which include videos, PowerPoint presentations and worksheets. For each of the four levels in each language, there are three sets of teaching resources on translating poetry, fiction and non-fiction. The teaching resources are distributed in autumn 2021 and early 2022. 

All schools will be invited to participate in the competition in as many levels and languages as they wish. In 2022 the competition will run for several weeks in the half term leading up to the Easter vacation (from 21 February to 1 April). Teachers are asked to submit the top five submissions from their school for each level in each language by 8 April.

Anthea Bell teacher quote
Anthea Bell teacher quote
Anthea Bell teacher quote
Anthea Bell teacher quote
Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators, 2020-21

Over 500 schools from across the UK registered for the prize resources in the first year (2020-2021), with 200 selected to take part in the final competition phase in June.

Area and national winners of the Prize were announced in July 2021.

All interested teachers received teaching packs for the prize, with ready-made resources designed to be used in class, for home learning or for extra-curricular activities.

Teaching packs covered the creative translation of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. The competition tasks took place in the second half of the summer term (June 2021). 

Bringing more international culture into the classroom is a central aim of the prize, and so all passages – fiction and non-fiction – were rich in cultural content, and creativity in the translation was rewarded.

Thank you to all judges, teachers and participants in this first year of the Anthea Bell Prize, as well as to our administrative assistant Gemma Craig-Sharples, our resource developers Clare Savory, Rosalind Harvey and the team at Paper Republic (Emily Jones, Eric Abrahamsen, Jack Hargreaves, Lirong Yao, Nicky Harman), our first coordinator Alyson Coombes, and resource developer and prize coordinator Holly Langstaff

The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators was created by Charlotte Ryland, founding Director of the Queen's College Translation Exchange. Charlotte had the pleasure of working with Anthea Bell for many years, and is proud to have founded this prize in her honour.

  • Resources

    The prize culminates in a competition task, but we aim to ensure that this creative translation can be integrated into the year’s teaching rather than being a one-off event. To that end, we provide three sets of resources for MFL teachers to use in the build-up, focusing on translating poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction. The competition and resources are targeted at four levels in four languages (French, German, Mandarin, and Spanish).

    A team of people worked to develop these resources. The French and German resources were developed by Holly Langstaff, who researches and teaches French literature, with Clare Savory, a Germanist, research assistant and trained teacher. The Spanish resources were developed by literary translator Rosalind Harvey. The Mandarin resources were developed by the team at Paper Republic (Emily Jones, Eric Abrahamsen, Jack Hargreaves, Lirong Yao, Nicky Harman), a UK charity whose mission is to promote Chinese literature in English translation with a focus on new writing from contemporary Chinese writers. Paper Republic would also like to thank James Trapp for his support in developing new resources for 2021-22.

    You can read about our approach to developing the first set of resources on translating poetry in our post for the Oxford Education Blog.

    Example slides from our teaching resources:

  • Judges 2021

    Judges 2021

    A team of translators from right across the UK, along with Oxford languages undergraduates, have worked together to judge over 1,000 entries to this year's prize. The Mandarin entries have been judged by our partners Paper Republic. You can read more about them all below.

    This year's national judges are literary translators and writers Jen Calleja, Jessica Rainey and Anam Zafar, along with the Paper Republic team.

    Jen Calleja is a writer, literary translator from German and editor based in Hastings and originally from Shoreham-By-Sea. She has translated over a dozen works of German-language literature as well as poetry, short stories and essays. Her translations have been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019 and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize 2018, and have appeared in The New YorkerModern Poetry in TranslationGrantaThe White Review and elsewhere. She is co-publisher at Praspar Press, a new micro-publisher for Maltese literature in English and English translation.

    Jessica Rainey is a translator from French and Spanish, and an associate lecturer in translation at Durham and Newcastle universities. Literary translations include two contemporary Spanish plays (Cervantes Theatre) and a Salvadoran poetry collection (Red Ceilings Press). Events include Protest Poets in Translation (Southbank Centre) and Translation as Collaboration (Newcastle University). She has an MA in Translation Studies, and a BA in English Literature and African & Asian Studies.

    Anam Zafar translates from Arabic and French into English. She holds an MA in Applied Translation Studies from the University of Leeds.  She translates novels for children and adults to allow misrepresented communities to tell their own stories on their own terms. She also translates for international organisations and academic journals, specialising in environmental issues and the social sciences. She was a 2020/21 mentee on the National Centre for Writing’s Emerging Translators Mentorship scheme, and in May 2021 she was a translator in residence as part of their Visible Communities programme. She is also a social media administrator for World Kid Lit and participant in the Stephen Spender Trust Multilingual Creators programme. 


    The prize is organised according to geographical areas of the UK, to ensure as much participation as possible from right across the country. We are therefore also working with a team of translators from those areas, some of whom will be making videos to be shown at the winners' schools:

    • Rebecca Dewald
    • Rosie Eyre
    • Melanie Florence
    • Helen Jones
    • Tina Kover
    • Johanna McCalmont
    • Nick Rosenthal
    • Emma Rowe
    • Naomi Solleveld
    • Luke Trinder
    • Rachel Ward
    • April Yee

    Our team of Oxford languages undergraduates:

    • Sophie Bailey
    • Bethany Barber
    • Annabel Chessher
    • Gemma Craig-Sharples
    • Jack Franco
    • Maria-Minodora Grosu
    • Anna Maria Iaramboykov
    • Stephanie Nourse
    • Lily Rachel
    • Rebecca Smithson
    • Tayiba Sulaiman
    • Dalveen Sandhu
    • Fred Waine
    • Klara Zhao 
  • Mini competition 2020

    Mini Competition - Summer 2020 

    We were delighted to receive 295 entries for our inaugural schools competition in summer 2020. All the winners and commendees are listed here.

    Well done to everybody for taking part, and thank you to all the teachers who submitted their students' entries! We hope that this has whetted appetites for creative translation, and for our brand new nationwide competition for French, German, Mandarin and Spanish. 

    We are grateful to the Goethe-Institut and Penguin Classics for donating book prizes for the competition.


Anthea Bell

Anthea Bell OBE (1936–2018) ranked among the leading literary translators of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her work from German, French and Danish into English encompassed the writings of Kafka, Freud, E.T.A. Hoffmann, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Georges Simenon, W.G. Sebald, René Goscinny, Cornelia Funke and many others.  

She won numerous literary awards, some of them several times, and was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2015.

We are delighted to be able to honour Anthea's great work, and her commitment to encouraging young language-learners and translators, with this prize.


The competition has been established in partnership with the Stephen Spender Trust. It is generously supported by The Queen's College and St Hugh's College, Oxford, the Independent Schools' Modern Languages Association, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London, the Institut français in London, the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK, the Swire Chinese Language Foundation, the Austrian Cultural Forum London, the Italian Cultural Institute London, the Instituto Cervantes London, the Association for Language Learning and Oxford University Press. Prizes are kindly donated by Penguin Classics, Vintage Books, Oxford University Press and the Goethe-Institut London.

This competition is inspired by the 'Juvenes Translatores' competition run by the European Commission, for which UK students are no longer eligible. We are grateful for the advice & support of our colleagues at the former European Commission Representation in the UK, which closed in December 2019.