Marta Eidsvåg wins Harvill Secker's Young Translators’ Prize 2016

Marta Eidsvåg wins Harvill Secker's Young Translators’ Prize 2016

Norway's Marta Eidsvåg has won the Harvill Secker's Young Translators’ Prize 2016.

Eidsvåg was awarded the £1,000 prize, now in its seventh year, at a reception on International Translation Day (30th September) organised by Writers’ Centre Norwich at the British Library.

The prize also includes a selection of Harvill Secker titles, a Writers’ Centre Norwich Emerging Translator Mentorship with translator and judge of this year’s prize Don Bartlett, admittance to an event at Crossing Border festival in November, and see her award-winning translation published by Granta online

The chosen language for the 2016 prize was Norwegian, and entrants were asked to translate a short story by Merethe Lindstrøm; ‘Svømme under vann’ (‘Swimming Under Water’) from her collection of the same name. 

The judging panel said there had been "strong competition" for the prize, but praised its chosen 26-year-old winner for her "brilliant rendering of relationships between the characters" as well as her ability to remain faithful to the original text. 

The judges comprised Mariella Frostrup, presenter of BBC Radio 4 Open Book; Joanna Kavenna, author of A Field Guide to Reality and named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2013; Ellie Steel, editor at Harvill Secker; and Bartlett, whose translations include Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series into English. They said in a joint statement: "We had a hugely promising and impressive array of entries this year and, for the first time in the prize’s seven-year history, have decided to recommend our full shortlist, who should all be praised for their efforts. Amidst strong competition, we chose Marta’s translation for her brilliant rendering of the relationships between the characters, the atmosphere and momentum of her prose, and her ability to tell the story in English whilst remaining faithful to Merethe Lindstrøm’s original."

Eidsvåg is a freelance translator and Masters student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who recently published an essay on Game of Thrones and motherhood in the anthology Women of Ice and Fire (Bloomsbury, 2016). She also writes poetry and fiction. She commented on her win: "I am so thrilled and honoured to be getting this incredible opportunity. I have been doing translation for some time now, but this seems an important step towards what I really want to be doing, which is literary translation. Being chosen for this prize is above all else great inspiration and encouragement, especially for someone who translates into a second language."