The 2021 Bernard Shaw Prize has been awarded to Sarah Death for her translation from Swedish of Tove Jansson’s Letters from Tove.
The winner of the 2021 Bernard Shaw Prize is Sarah Death for her translation of Letters from Tove by Tove Jansson (edited by Boel Westin and Helen Svensson) and published by Sort of Books. The announcement of the winner was made as part of the Society of Authors’ annual Translation Prizes ceremony held online on 10th February.
The judges’ citation noted: ‘This translation was the standout contribution from within the shortlist for the judges. It is beautifully illustrated and produced, balancing general reader interest with scholarly value throughout its footnotes and index.’
The two runners up were Amanda Doxtater for her translation of Karin Boye’s Crisis, and Sarah Death, whose translation of Chitambo was also featured on the shortlist. The judges noted that ‘Death and Doxtater’s translation prowess proved inseparable’.
The prize is awarded for the best translation into English of a full length Swedish language work of literary merit and general interest, with the winner receiving £2000. Named after the author and dramatist George Bernard Shaw, whose Nobel Prize went towards a foundation for ‘the promotion and diffusion of knowledge and appreciation of the literature and art of Sweden in the British Islands’, the prize was established in 1991 and is generously sponsored by the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation and the Embassy of Sweden in London. It has been awarded triennially since its inception, but will be awarded biennially from now, meaning that the next award will be for 2023 (awarded in 2024).
Sarah Death has won the Bernard Shaw prize on two previous occasions, in 2003 and 2006, and was commended in 2015. This is also a third win for the late Tove Jansson and her publisher Sort of Books. SELTA offers its wholehearted congratulations to Sarah on her achievement.
You can watch the full prize ceremony here. And finally well done to all the translators who were featured on the shortlist for the 2021 prize as announced last November.