Modern Greek Studies Association

2017 MGSA Constantinides Memorial Translation Prize

The MGSA is pleased to announce the 2017 Constantinides Memorial Translation Prize Competition for original, new translations into English of a literary work published in Modern Greek. A prize of $500 will be awarded for a piece of Modern Greek literature (poetry, prose, theatre) translated into English. We welcome work by scholars of Modern Greek and other fields and languages as well as creative writers, students, and anyone knowledgeable of Greek and English engaged in the work of translation.

This competition is intended to raise the profile of contemporary Greek literature in English and to award translation as a creative, intellectually meaningful exercise. Established in 1995 and administered by the MGSA, the Prize honors the memory of Elizabeth Constantinides (1932-1992, Ph.D. in Greek and Latin from Columbia University), who taught Modern Greek language and literature at Queens College of CUNY from 1978 to 1992, wrote on Alexandros Papadiamantis, and translated twelve short stories by Papadiamantis, published as Tales from a Greek Island (Johns Hopkins University Press,1987). Constantinides served on the Executive Committee of the MGSA and was awarded the 1987 prize of the Society of Literary Translators in Athens, Greece.


The translation must be from Modern Greek into English. 

The competition is open to any literary genre: poetry, prose, or drama.  Excerpts from longer works will be considered.

Both published and unpublished submissions will be eligible.

Published submissions may only have been published within three years prior to the call for submissions.

Each project may be submitted only once and may not be resubmitted.

Only one submission per translator is allowed. 

The submission should include a cover letter with the name of the author of the translated work, title of the translated work, name of the translator, postal address of the translator, and e-mail address of the translator – if available. 

The submission should also include a brief statement by the translator (no more than one page in length) explaining why the particular Greek text was chosen and what goals and/or principles were employed in the translation. 

The translator’s name must not appear on the translation itself or in the translator’s statement. It should only be in the cover letter.

The translation itself must be typed, double-spaced in 12pt standard font (Times, Times New Roman, Palatino, Baskerville, Georgia), and printed on one side only of standard letter-size paper. 

The submission should not exceed thirty pages in length; this restriction also applies to lengthy novels and plays. A thirty-page chapter from a novel or a thirty-page act from a play is acceptable.

Translators are not required to be members of the MGSA when submitting their work. 

Send one copy of the cover sheet and five copies each of the translator’s 1-page statement, English translation and Greek original to the address on the right.

Alternatively the translator may email as separate pdf attachments the cover sheet (with the translator’s name) and the file or files (without the translator’s name) of the translator’s statement, English translation, and Greek original.  The email address is at right.

Please note that faxed submissions are not acceptable. No materials will be returned.

2017 Translation Prize
Michail Tzoufras

For his translation of Alexandros Papadiamantis's The Merchant of Nations.

See the prize announcement.

Peter Bien
Prof. Emeritus English, Dartmouth College, Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
Honorable Mention: Stathis Gauntlett MCM, University of Melbourne and the Australian Academy of the Humanities , The Last Varlamis by Thanasis Valtinos
Patricia Felisa Barbeito
Elias Maglinis, The Interrogation
Gonda Van Steen
Aris Alexandrou, Antigone
Elizabeth Herschbach
Kosmas Politis, Eroica
Susan Matthias
George Seferis, Six Nights On The Acropolis
Elina Tsalicoglou
Konstantinos Dapontes, Canon of Hymns Comprising Many Exceptional Things
Rick M. Newton
Ismene Kapandais, Floria of the Waters
Karen Emmerich
Margarita Karapanou, Rien ne va plus
Thomas Doulis
Pavlos Kalligas, Thanos Vlekas
David Connolly
Nikeforos Vrettakos, Two Men Talk of Peace in the World

Constantinides Translation Prize
Modern Greek Studies Association
c/o Gonda Van Steen
P.O.Box 117435
Gainesville, FL 32611-7435
Selection Process

The submissions will undergo blind review. The MGSA Executive Director places the cover sheets with the names of the contestants in a sealed envelope during the process of review.

A committee comprised of five members chaired by a member of the MGSA Executive Board will evaluate the work between April 15 and May 31. Committee members include scholars, a fiction writer, a poet, and several translators, who together represent the genres that may be translated and have a strong knowledge of both Greek and English. They are not necessarily MGSA members. The chairperson of the committee is a voting member of the committee. Committee members are not permitted to submit their own work while on the committee.

Although it is difficult, and, perhaps, inadvisable, to establish streamlined criteria for translation, as much depends on the writing style and the degree of difficulty of the original, the committee will evaluate: fidelity to the original; command of English (structure, diction, and nuance); importance of the work as a representative sample of a literary period or movement or of the work of an individual writer; and the translator’s ability to provide cues in the translation itself or alternatively by way of footnotes, end notes, or introduction, when deemed necessary.

The evaluation results of each committee member should reflect a rank-ordering of the submissions. Once a decision has been made, the chair announces the winner of the competition to the MGSA Executive Director and to the members of the Elizabeth Constantinides Translation Prize Committee. All entrants are notified in writing by the chair of the committee. The award is publicly made at the next scheduled MGSA Symposium and the MGSA Executive Director mails the $500 award to the winner.

The Prize Committee

The committee comprises five eligible members and is chaired by a member of the MGSA Executive Board. None of the other committee members may hold a seat on the Association’s Board. Membership in the MGSA is not mandatory. The selection of eligible members includes consideration of the need for representation of all genres on the committee. For each competition, a new committee is comprised and no committee member shall serve two consecutive terms.

Appointment of the committee takes place during and after the autumn MGSA Executive Board meeting preceding a Symposium year. At that meeting, the President of the MGSA shall ask members of the Board to appoint a committee chair and to make additional nominations of committee members to the chair of the Elizabeth Constantinides Translation Prize Committee. Using these nominations, it shall be the duty of the chair of the Committee to appoint the additional four members to the committee, with disciplinary representation as a basis for their selection. It is also advisable that gender and academic standing be taken into consideration when making these appointments.

Once a committee has been convened, members of the committee must review its procedures and establish an appropriate timetable for its work. It is advisable that the committee’s service begins on January 1 and that the competition is announced by February 1.

The prize is announced at the next MGSA Symposium, and the committee remains operative until a subsequent committee is appointed after the autumn Executive Board meeting, preceding the following competition year.