Anna Leader has been named the winner of the 2019 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize.
She scooped the prize for her French to English translation of Real Men (Philippe Rey) by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr. The prize was awarded at the International Translation Day reception at the Free Word Centre on Monday (30th September).
Leader, who has worked in education in the US until recently, wins £1,000 and a selection of Vintage titles. She will also take part in a National Centre for Writing Emerging Translator Mentorship, presented in association with the Institut français du Royaume-Uni and Beyond Words Festival, and mentored by acclaimed translator and judge of this year’s prize Sarah Ardizzone.
The Princeton graduate’s winning translation, an excerpt from the novel Real Men/ De purs hommes (Philippe Rey) by Senegalese author Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, will be made available to read on the Granta website.
Medical translator Hayley Wood took second place and there were honourable mentions to Irish writer and translator James Bennett and Samuel Weinberger, a recent Cambridge University graduate.
Now in its 10th year, the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize aims to recognise the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers and to encourage and support the next generation of literary translators. It is an annual prize, which focuses on a different language each year and is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34, with no more than one full-length translation published. There is no restriction on country of residence. This year’s chosen language was French and all entrants were asked to translate an excerpt from the De purs hommes.
Leader said: “It was a pleasure and a thrill to receive a call from London, as I walked to work in New Jersey one morning, announcing that I had won the Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize. I am grateful to Penguin Random House UK, the National Centre for Writing, and my future mentor Sarah Ardizzone for this incredible opportunity. This excerpt from Sarr's De purs hommes serves as a reminder that French is a language spoken and written outside of France, just as English is spoken outside of England: facts that I know well, having grown up in Luxembourg to British-American parents."
She added: "I am excited, too, by the prospect of participating in a mentorship programme that will broaden my understanding of what translation can do, and I look forward to a year of creation and collaboration.”
The judging panel consisted of Sarah Ardizzone, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Gary Perry and Mikaela Pedlow.