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Stephen Spender Prize 2024

Calling MFL, EAL and English teachers! Bring creative translation into the classroom this summer with the Stephen Spender Prize 2024

The Stephen Spender Prize is an annual competition for poetry in translation, with strands for pupils, teachers and individual young people, as well as a special rotating Spotlight highlighting a language widely spoken in the UK. The competition is open for entries from 1 May to 31 July and is free to enter for all schools and teachers in the UK and Ireland.

Whether you’re an MLF, EAL or English teacher, and whatever the languages taught and spoken in your school community, the prize is a perfect way to engage students of all ages this summer term.

Teachers are invited to register here to receive classroom inspiration and activity ideas throughout the prize window, and you can follow all the latest news on our website and social media channels. (X: @StephenSpender| Facebook: @StephenSpenderTrust | Instagram: @stephenspendertrust)

Here’s a list of the categories for 2024:

Ready to start planning and working on your entries? Head to our Guide for Teachers for all the key information about the prize at a glance, explore our Bank of Suggested Poems for poem inspiration, and find poetry workshops, worksheets, lesson plans and more in our Prize Resources hub.

To help you spread the word ahead of the launch, you can also download a free Stephen Spender Prize 2024 poster to display around your school, sixth form or university buildings.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at prize@stephen-spender.org. We hope that many of you and your students will get involved!

Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators

The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators is a creative translation competition for students aged 11-18 studying French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. The competition also runs from French into Welsh. The Prize is free to enter and open to all schools across the UK. 

The 2023-24 prize launches today (20 September), when creative translation teaching packs will be shared with teachers in time for European Day of Languages on 26 September and International Translation Day on 30 September. These teaching packs are designed to help teachers bring creative translation into the MFL classroom as well as to help students prepare for the competition task.

Don’t worry if you have not yet registered! There is still plenty of time for teachers to do so as the competition itself will run over several weeks from 5 February to 28 March 2024. Area and national winners will be announced in May or June 2023. They will receive certificates and national winners will receive book prizes.

Over 15,000 students participated in the competition in 2023: see the list of winners and commendations in 2023.  For those registered, teaching packs for poetry translation will be circulated today, fiction will follow after October half term, and non-fiction will be released in early January.  Register to receive these resources and for updates about the competition task, click here

There are a number of related activities run by the Queen’s Translation Exchange that teachers and pupils can participate in, details of which can be found here.

If you have any queries regarding the competition, please contact the Translation Exchange team at translation.exchange@queens.ox.ac.uk.

A German Classic 2023 – Kafka’s Der Heizer

The Oxford German Network are delighted to announce the launch of the 2023 edition of ‘A German Classic’ – Oxford’s essay competition for sixth-form students. This year we invite you to read Franz Kafka’s Der Heizer (1912/13).

It is the first chapter of the unfinished novel Der Verschollene (‘The Man Who Disappeared’), narrating the beginning of the story about 17-year-old Karl Rossmann. The story addresses themes including family and friendship, migration, identity and encounters with the foreign, be it a person of a different nationality, social status or gender. It is a story about growing up, finding one’s way in a foreign land, and personal (in)stability. The experiences Kafka evokes for the reader with his narratives are so distinctive that they have given rise to the word ‘Kafkaesque’. Get a sense of what it means by studying Der Heizer in the original – one of the iconic works of world literature!

ELIGIBILITY

Entrants must fulfil the following requirements as of 8 September 2023:

  • be beginning their final year of full-time study at a secondary school in the UK (upper-sixth form, Year 13 or S6 in Scotland);
  • be between the ages of 16 and 18;
  • hold a GCSE, IGCSE or equivalent qualification in German offered in the UK, or have at least an equivalent knowledge of German, as confirmed by their teacher;
  • be resident in the United Kingdom.

Entrants are not expected to have prior experience of studying German literature.

PRIZES

Up to three prizes will be awarded: a first prize of £500, a second prize of £300, and a third prize of £100. Prizes will only be awarded if work is of sufficient merit. All entrants will receive a Prize Certificate or a Certificate of Participation. Results will be announced in early October 2023.

STUDY PACKS

Sign up here by 5pm on Friday 30 June 2023 to receive free physical copies of the German original and an English translation of Kafka’s novel Der Verschollene, the first chapter of which is the set text of the competition. The website will also give you access to a set of free multimedia resources and essay writing guidelines created and curated by us especially for this competition. All physical study materials will be dispatched in early July.

For further information, please have a look on our website.

If you have any questions, please email the Prize Coordinator at germanclassic@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

Stephen Spender Prize 2023

This week, we pass over to our friends at the Stephen Spender Trust to tell us about their 2023 prize for poetry in translation.

Translate ANY poem from ANY language into English, and win publication and cash prizes! Language lovers and budding poets of all ages are warmly invited to take part in the Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, open to adults aged 19+ from all over the world, as well as to individual young people and school pupils in the UK and Ireland and students at British Schools Overseas.

For 2023 there will also be a special language focus with the Ukrainian Spotlight strand, open to all young people in the UK and Ireland aged 18 and under.

The deadline to submit entries is 14th July.

Details:

Entrants are invited to submit an English translation of a published poem from any language, ancient or modern, together with a commentary of no more than 300 words. The translation should be max. 60 lines (extracts are accepted). All forms and genres are welcome, including texts from rap, spoken word and slam poetry. We also welcome translations from sign language.

Prize strands:

  • International Open Entry (NEW FOR 2023) – For adults aged 19+ from all over the world.
  • Individual Youth Entry – For individual young people in the UK and Ireland or attending British schools overseas. Two age categories: 14-and-under; 18-and-under.
  • Schools Laureate Prize (NEW FOR 2023) – For teachers submitting on behalf of their students, open to schools in the UK and Ireland and British schools overseas. Four categories for pupils from KS1 to KS5.
  • Ukrainian Spotlight (NEW FOR 2023) – For young people in the UK and Ireland or at British schools overseas. Entries can be submitted individually or by teachers on behalf of students. Three age categories: KS1-2, KS3-4 and KS5.
  • Teacher Laureate Prize (NEW FOR 2023) – Free to enter for all teachers at schools that have entered pupils for the Schools Laureate or Ukrainian Spotlight strands.

Judges:

Open category: Taher Adel, Jennifer Wong, Samantha Schnee
Youth categories (Individual Youth Entry and Schools Laureate Prize): Keith Jarrett
Ukrainian Spotlight: Nina Murray

Prizes:

  • Open Entry: £1000 (1st), £500 (2nd), £250 (3rd)
  • Individual Youth Entry, Schools Laureate Prize and Ukrainian Spotlight: Cash prizes of up to £100 for the winners in each age category.
  • Teacher Laureate Prize: Annual print subscription to Modern Poetry in Translation for the winning teacher, plus a Stephen Spender Prize workshop for their school during the next academic year.

All winners will have their translations published in our 2023 prize booklet and will be invited to participate in our livestreamed awards ceremony in the autumn. The winner of the Open category will also be published in Modern Poetry in Translation.

In each age category we will additionally reward three Highly Commended entrants and up to 30 Commendees, as well as three special First-Time Entrant Commendations in the Open category.  

Entry Fee: 

Open category: £10 per translated poem, or £5 per additional poem in the same submission.
Youth and teacher categories: Free

Further details: 

Full information on how to enter can be found on the Stephen Spender Prize homepage and the different category subpages.

For a wealth of poetry translation inspiration, including advice for those trying poetry translation for the first-time, explore our Guide to Poetry Translation for Newcomers, the archive of tutorials and testimonials on the Stephen Spender Trust YouTube channel, and the multilingual bank of suggested poems for translation in our Prize Resources hub.

Good luck to all entrants!

MFL Teachers’ Mailing List Prize Draw

MFL Teachers! There’s still time to sign up to our mailing list for a chance to win £100 worth of vouchers for your school!

Here in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, one of our goals this year is to improve our reach and develop links with more MFL teachers and schools across the country. We would love for more teachers and pupils to get involved in the MFL activities and events we run throughout the school year, in the hope of encouraging more and more pupils to continue with their language learning to GCSE and beyond.

Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash

With this aim in mind, we have decided to run a prize draw for new sign ups to our mailing list! All new contacts will be automatically entered into our prize draw for new sign ups, which offers the chance to win £100 worth of vouchers for their MFL department. The form for new sign ups can be found here.

In addition, if you refer an MFL colleague to our mailing list, you will be automatically entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw, also for £100 worth of vouchers for your department! Your colleague(s) just needs to mention your name and school while signing up, and we will take care of the rest. Therefore, we would be very grateful if you could also spread the word far and wide to your colleagues, teacher friends, and networks! (Do make sure to remind colleagues to include your details when signing up so you can be entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw.)

A few extra details: Multiple MFL Teachers from the same school can sign up as new contacts or recommend colleagues (in order to be entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw), to increase a school’s chance of winning. Please note, however, that the same school cannot win both prize draws. In the unlikely case that teachers from the same school are selected for both prizes, the second prize will be redrawn.

The deadline to enter the prize draw is 10am on Tuesday 20th September. We will be announcing the winners of both draws at our annual MFL Teachers’ Conference, taking place on 23-24 September. Winners will be notified via email the week commencing 26 September.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to welcoming lots of you to our ever-growing network of wonderful MFL teachers!

Prize Draw for MFL Teachers’ Mailing List

Calling all MFL Teachers – join our mailing list for a chance to win £100 worth of vouchers for your school!

One of our goals in the Faculty over the summer is to expand our MFL Teachers’ mailing list in order to improve our reach and develop links with more MFL Teachers and schools across the country. We would love for more teachers and pupils to get involved in the MFL activities and events we run here at Oxford, in the hope of encouraging more and more pupils to continue with their language learning to GCSE and beyond.

With this aim in mind, we have decided to run a prize draw for new sign ups to our mailing list! If you are an MFL Teacher who is not currently a member of our mailing list, you can sign up via our online form here. All new contacts will be automatically entered into our prize draw, which offers the chance to win £100 worth of vouchers for your MFL department.

If you are already a member of our mailing list, worry not! The great news is that, if you refer an MFL colleague to our mailing list, you will be automatically entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw, also for £100 worth of vouchers for your department! They just need to mention your name and school while signing up, and we will take care of the rest.

Sign up here to join our MFL Teachers’ network!
(Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash)

Whether you’re new to our mailing list or a long-time member, we would be very grateful if you could spread the word far and wide to your colleagues, teacher friends, and networks! Do make sure to remind colleagues to include your details when signing up so you can be entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw, as mentioned above.

Please note: multiple MFL Teachers from the same school can sign up as new contacts or recommend colleagues (in order to be entered into our ‘referrers’ prize draw), to increase a school’s chance of winning. The same school cannot win both prize draws, however. In the unlikely case that teachers from the same school are selected for both prizes, the second prize will be redrawn.

The deadline to enter the prize draw is 10am on Tuesday 20th September. We will be announcing the winners of both draws at our annual MFL Teachers’ Conference, taking place on 23-24 September. Winners will be notified via email the week commencing 26 September.

We look forward to welcoming you to our network of MFL Teachers!

The Stephen Spender Prize 2022

The Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, in association with The Guardian, is now open for entries. Anybody in the UK and Ireland can enter, regardless of age or linguistic skill. The Stephen Spender Trust’s (SST) Resources hub is full of virtual resources to make the prize accessible from home, as well as teaching packs to bring poetry translation into the classroom.

This year, the prize is more inclusive and vibrant than ever, from British Sign Language translation to new prizes for first-time entrants. SST’s virtual poetry booklets collect together poems in more than 17 languages.

SST Director Charlotte Ryland:

“Poetry translation is a perfect activity for these challenging times: it is a gentle and structured approach to creativity, without the intimidating blank page that can put off many would-be poets; it is an opportunity for parents and children to work together, in particular in families where more than one language is spoken; and it is a task that can be shared with peers and teachers.”

This year’s judges are acclaimed poets, translators and educators Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra and Samantha Schnee.

Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra and Samantha Schnee

Closing date: 15 July 2022

  • Categories: Open (adult), 18-and-under, 16-and-under, 14-and-under
  • Top prize of £1,000
  • All winning entries published in the 2022 Stephen Spender Prize booklet
  • Special ‘Spotlight’ prize for translation from Romanian, judged by Gabi Reigh

Full details on the SST website. Good luck to all participants!

Announcing the 2018 German Classic Prize!

Budding Germanists out there might be interested in delving into a ‘German Classic’: Friedrich Schiller’s Maria Stuart. For the second year, the Oxford German Network is running an essay competition for Sixth-Formers who have studied German at GCSE level (you do not need to be studying German at A Level or equivalent). There are prizes of £500, £300, and £100 to be won. The deadline for submissions is noon on Wednesday 12 September 2018. More information is available here or read on to find out more…

The Prize celebrates a classic text of German literature, with resources to make it accessible whether or not you have experience of German literature. This year, the prize focuses on Friedrich Schiller’s play Maria Stuart, a fascinating historical drama about how Elizabeth I came to have Mary, Queen of Scots executed. The great centrepiece of the play is a gripping confrontation between Elisabeth and Maria – in fact, it never happened but it makes for electrifying drama.

You will find a rich array of material including podcasts and YouTube links on Maria Stuart: http://www.ogn.ox.ac.uk/content/german-classics-prize. Candidates may also request a special reader with extracts from secondary literature on the work (see contact details on the website).

The task: Write a 2000 to 3000-word essay in English, independently and unsupervised, over the summer holidays between Lower and Upper Sixth/ between Years 12 and 13.

The prize, and funding of the accompanying resources, have been generously donated by Jonathan Gaisman, QC, a highly distinguished commercial barrister who was introduced to German literature at school and still finds German literature and culture the most intellectually rewarding part of his life. He would like to give young people the opportunity to be inspired as he was when he first encountered German literature.

Students willing to have a go at undertaking this challenge have the possibility of winning a glittering cash prize worth £500, £300 or £100. All participants will get a certificate of participation.

The prize is aimed at German learners in the UK. It does not assume that participants will be taking English beyond GCSE or that they have a prior interest in literature. The rationale for asking Modern Languages students to write an essay in English is to give an opportunity for UK learners to engage with a linguistically and intellectually challenging German work in the linguistic medium they are most comfortable with. While participants may want to use a translation to support their understanding, we recommend reading the work in the original to get the most out of it and take advantage of the opportunity it offers for expanding German competence. All quotations must be in German.

Friedrich Schiller by Ludovike Simanowiz

As with all the Oxford German Olympiad competitions, we aim to create a level playing field for students from different backgrounds, schools, and levels of linguistic competence. The submission form must be signed by the participant’s teacher, who is also asked to submit the essay online. All sixth-formers in UK schools with a GCSE or equivalent UK qualification in German are entitled to take part, including students who are not taking a German A-level or equivalent qualification. Native and near-native speakers of German are not excluded but are required to declare their linguistic status on the submission form. Our prime criterion is the quality of intellectual and imaginative engagement with the work evident in the essay while taking account of prior opportunity.

Any questions should be addressed to the German Classic Prize Coordinator: Joanna Raisbeck, joanna.raisbeck@some.ox.ac.uk.

Viel Glück!