Bronze and Sunflower, authored by Cao Wenxuan and translated by Helen Wang, has won 2017’s Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation. This is the twentieth anniversary of the prize, which is presented biennially and awards the prize of £3000 directly to the winning translator.
Judges Gillian Lathey, Wendy Cooling, Colin Niven and Kevin Crossley-Holland selected this title from a shortlist of six texts, each of an exceptionally high standard. In addition to Bronze and Sunflower, the shortlist comprised: The Flying Classroom, Erich Kästner, trans. Anthea Bell (Pushkin Children's Books); The Little Black Fish, Samad Behrangi, trans. Azita Rassi (Tiny Owl Publishing); Oh, Freedom!, Francesco D'Adamo, trans. Sian Williams (Darf Publishers); The Secret of the Blue Glass, Tomiko Inui, trans. Ginny Tapley Takemori (Pushkin Children’s Books) and Detective Gordon: The First Case, Ulf Nilsson, trans. Julia Marshall (Gecko Press). The competition received twenty-seven entries this year, and Wendy Cooling commented that ‘judging was not work but a real pleasure’.
The award ceremony was held on Wednesday, 25th January at Dartmouth House, the home of the English-Speaking Union, who administer the award on behalf of the Marsh Christian Trust. The evening was attended by an array of figures from the publishing world, and from organisations which are passionate about bringing translated literature to children, such as Outside In, the Society of Authors, the Book Trust and the School Library Association, to name but a few. While recognising that progress has been made in this field, Mrs Aleksandra Marsh spoke passionately at the event for continued improvement in the recognition of translators, urging publishers to list translators’ names alongside authors’. Gillian Lathey, who has sat on the judging panel since the award’s inception, expressed her thanks and recognition to the “grandes dames” of children’s translation, such as Sîan Williams, Elizabeth Hammill and Anthea Bell. Joy Court and Daniel Hahn were the final speakers of the evening, introducing the brand new Riveting Reads publication, produced by the School Library Association. This publication gathers the very best of translated children’s literature currently in print, no matter its country of origin nor its publication date. In its entirety, the ceremony was an aptly joyous celebration of the astounding quality of translation children’s literature being published, and a passionate call to arms for the assorted organisations in attendance to continue their work in this domain.
The English-Speaking Union extends its heartfelt congratulations to Helen Wang for her achievement.
Pictured: Colin Niven, Wendy Cooling, Gillian Lathey, Helen Wang and Kevin Crossley-Holland