The Peirene Stevns Translation Prize

And the winner is…

We are delighted to announce that the 2019 Peirene Stevns Translation Prize has been awarded to Jessica Ockenden!

Jessica studied French and Italian Literature, graduating in 2018. This will be her first full length literary translation.

Literary translation was one of my favourite parts of my degree, and I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to undertake a professional translation. I fell in love with Morandini’s novel and its style, and I can’t wait to for English readers to discover Neve, cane, piede.

I’m a translator, radio presenter, journalist and writer. Previously I’ve worked as a French-language radio journalist, a theatre / opera producer, an in-house translator for an antiquities gallery and, most recently, as a college porter. I live in Oxford with nine housemates and fourteen houseplants.’ Jessica Ockenden

We couldn’t be more excited to work with Jessica over the coming months on her first foray into Literary translation. We also can’t wait to read the finished book which will be published in 2020! Here’s what our judges had to say about Jessica’s translation:

Reading the short-listed translations made me realise how much of an art and a craft it is to produce something that is both accurate and pleasurable to read. I wanted something that conveyed the author’s prose while also having the confidence to capture the atmosphere it created. In the end we came down to two, both of them with minutely different strengths and weaknesses. I am happy to learn that in choosing a winner we have found a new young translator who should be able to benefit from the prize.Amanda Craig

‘It is exciting to have chosen a winner with such exciting potential. When I read Jessica¹s sample I felt the beating of a rhythm that carried me along. I am sure that with our editor¹s guidance, Jessica¹s rendition of Claudio Morandini¹s beautiful book Neve, cane, piede will be note-worthy addition to Peirene¹s collection of European novellas.’ Meike Ziervogel

We’d like to offer our congratulations to all those who entered, particularly our shortlisted translators. All entrants were of an incredibly high standard and selecting a winner was a particularly difficult process, any one of the shortlist could easily have been selected to take on the challenge of translating the entirety of this wonderful Italian novel.

We would like to thank our judges Amanda Craig, Gesche Ipsen and Meike Ziervogel for their dedicated work and Martha Stevns for making this entire process possible.

After listening to all your valuable feedback we will be making some changes to the award for 2020, so watch this space.  We can’t wait to offer another new translator the opportunity to develop their skills and publish their first full literary translation!


Shortlist Announcement

It is with great excitement that we can now confirm the shortlist for the Peirene Stevns translation prize 2019! We were overwhelmed by the number of entrants and so impressed at the quality of the translations. We would like to thank everyone who sent us their samples and put themselves forward for the award.

Our judges assessed the samples on (1) the accuracy of the translation, (2) the translator’s faithfulness to the style of the original text and (3) the quality of the writing. With those criteria in mind, we are honoured to announce that the seven shortlisted entrants are, in alphabetical order, as follows:

  • Abaigh Wheatley
  • Ailsa Wood
  • Alta L. Price
  • Anneliese Schultz
  • Eluned Zoë Aiano
  • Jessica Ockenden
  • Nicole Dunaway

We now move on to the second round of deliberations and our judges, Amanda Craig, Gesche Ipsen and Meike Ziervogel, will be announcing the winner of the Peirene Stevns Translation Prize 2019 on the 2nd of March.

We would also like to thank our subscribers and readers. Your support and confidence in us is what makes our work possible, and without you this prize would not exist. As such, we are honoured to share with you all some of the kind words we received from entrants, :

Can I also say, what a fantastic opportunity this prize is for early career translators such as myself. Routes into literary translation often seem few and far between, and quite daunting; so I was amazed to discover this generous initiative.

I was extremely excited to learn of the Peirene Stevns Translation Prize as, as you know, it’s very hard to start out as a new translator!

We believe strongly in your mission to use literature to break down barriers and build a stronger shared European and global identity, and really look forward to this wonderful little novel getting more known abroad!


Translation is the life blood of Peirene Press. We also think it is a necessary art form in the world we live in. Translation opens borders and enables us to travel across the world through words.

For new translators securing a first translation can be difficult. It can take years of dedicated hard work and half the battle is simply trying to convince a publisher – who tends to commission seasoned translators – to trust your work. This is where the Peirene Stevns Translation Prize comes in.

Open to all translators without a published novel, this prize not only looks to award great translation, it hopes to raise the profile of translated literature while offering a new translator the opportunity to see their work in print. This is the only translation prize that results in the publication of a full novel – read on to find out how you can enter!

This year’s entries are required to be translations from Italian to English.

Download our press release to use as a poster here: Peirene Stevns Flyer

The Prize

The winner of the Peirene Stevns Translation prize 2019 will receive £3500, a writer’s retreat in the Pyrenees and the publication of a full translated novel in 2020!

The retreat is an 18th century mill house in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. It comfortably sleeps 5/6 and comes fully equipped. There is a large garden with a natural swimming pond! The village is a 10 minute walk from the retreat. For your daily needs there is a store with a bakery in the church square and a bar/restaurant. The closest airport is Perpignan (50 minutes from the retreat) and transport can be arranged. 

The winner will be announced on the 1st of March with the residency taking place between the 18th May and the 20th July 2019.

The Novel

The focus of this year’s prize is the Italian novel Neve, Cane, Piede by Claudio Morandini. The novel reached number 5 on Italian best-seller lists and has been translated into four languages. The winner of the Peirene Stevns Translation Prize will produce the first English translation.

Neve, Cane, Piede follows the life of Adelmo Farandola a lonely old man living alone in the mountains. Retreating both into himself and deeper into the wilderness, he meets a hungry and persistent dog. Adelmo grows used to the dog and starts talking to it – after a while, the dog start to talk back…

Meet the Judges

Amanda Craig is a critic and author of seven novels, often compared to those of Dickens, Balzac and Jane Austen. Her latest book The Lie of the Land was published in 2017. It was chosen as a Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Irish Times and The Financial Times. She grew up in Italy and now lives in London.

Gesche Ipsen is a freelance editor and translator, and has held editorial positions at Penguin, Pushkin Press and Duckworth. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UCL, where she founded the journal Opticon1826. She grew up in Italy and Germany, and has lived in London since Britpop was a thing. She promises us she is not actually the city of Genoa in real life, just a woman of mystery.

Meike ZiervogelMeike Ziervogel is Peirene Press’s eminent Publisher. She grew up in northern Germany and came to London in 1986 to study Arabic language and literature. She founded Peirene in 2008 to bring the challenging brilliant literature she read in her native German to the UK market. Meike is also the author of four novels, all published by Salt in the UK. She is currently working on her fifth.

How to Enter

Please submit a full sample translation of the following first chapter of Neve, Cane, Piede alongside a CV to the email address.

We think it is important that everyone who enters this Prize gets something out of it. So as an entry fee, we have decided to ask all entrants to subscribe to Peirene Press. A Peirene subscription consists of three translated novels which are sent out throughout the year. Not only will you get a feel for our style, but you’ll become a part of our translated literature community. Any prize entrants who have not subscribed by the 31st of December will not be eligible.

Subscribe here:

Download the original Italian here: Chapter One – Peirene Stevns Translation Prize 2019

Student discounts are available, please contact to enquire. 


The Sample Translation

  • All text must be formatted in a standard 12-point font.
  • All entries must be double-spaced.
  • Please submit your translation in a PDF format.
  • Please do not include your name on any part of the document.
  • Translations must be in English.
  • Collective translations by up to two translators are allowed if:
    • Each individual fulfils the entry criteria.
    • The prize money will be equally split between the two.
    • The retreat time will be halved. Either both translators will attend for the same shortened time frame, or they will take residence one at a time for half of the original time frame.

Eligibility & Entry

  • Submission, including subscription to Peirene Press, is due on or before the 31st of December.
  • Any submissions after this date will not be eligible.
  • Any entrants who are not subscribed to Peirene Press on or before this date will not be eligible.
  • Entrants of any age (18+) and nationality are eligible to enter the prize.
  • By entering the prize entrants are confirming that they have never had a full work of fiction translation published (whereby ‘published’ refers to any work with an ISBN number).
  • If an entrant is found to have previously published a full work of fiction in translation they will be automatically disqualified.
  • We reserve the right to disqualify or reject any entry that we determine, in our sole and absolute discretion, does not meet the above criteria.

The Prize 

  • £3500
    • The prize money will be paid in three instalments, £1000 on acceptance of the prize, £1000 on arrival at the retreat (if this takes place, otherwise on 18th May 2019) and a further £1500 on completion of the translated novel.
    • Deadline for the full translation to be delivered by the winner is the 20th July 2019.
  • The opportunity to stay at a beautiful retreat in the Pyrenees rent free for up to two months.
    • The retreat must take place between between the 18th May and the 20th July 2019.
    • Translators with child care responsibilities are welcome to bring children and another adult.
    • The retreat sleeps up to six guests and translators are welcome to bring a guest or colleague as long as this time is still reserved for translation work.
    • Travel to the retreat and food during the stay is the winner’s responsibility.
  • The winner will receive the standard Peirene translator contract including royalties.
  • The translator will be working closely with Peirene’s editor. This collaboration will give the translator a wonderful opportunity to learn and improve their craft, and provide them with hands-on experience of how to create a work of high-quality translated fiction that Peirene will be able to submit for national press reviews and translator prizes.
  • The translation will be published as part of Peirene’s 2020 series of translated fiction, and will be send out to all our subscribers.

The shortlist will be announced on the 1st of February 2019 with the final Winner announced on the 1st of March 2019 – good luck!

Generously Endowed by Martha Stevns

Martha Stevns grew up in the Swiss-German speaking part of Switzerland and studied German Literature and Linguistics. Her love of literature has always stayed with her, and reading in German, French and English has been and still is one of her great pleasures. Peirene’s aim of bringing literature from different cultures and languages to the English speaking world through translations of high quality writing fits right into Martha’s philosophy of appreciating and sharing the richness of different cultures.

Involvement and support of the arts has long been a part of Martha’s life: Martha worked as an editor at the Swiss art magazine, DU, as well as running her own contemporary art gallery in the UK. In addition, Martha’s late husband founded the Australian Vogels Literary Award together with the Australian newspaper and the publisher Unwin Australia for an unpublished manuscript by young Australian writers. With the Peirene Stevns Translation Prize Martha, together with Peirene, wants to support young translators and hopes it will help the breaking down of linguistic (and other) barriers. Martha moved to the UK in 1985 and now lives in Cambridge.

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