Submissions Invited for the 2024 Constantinides Memorial Translation Prize
The MGSA is pleased to announce the 2024 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 winner will formally be announced and congratulated at the 2024 MGSA Symposium.
The translation must be from Modern Greek into English. Work from any literary genre—poetry, prose, or drama—will be considered, including excerpts from longer works. The submission should be between 15 (minimum) and 30 pages (maximum) in length; longer submissions will not be considered. Both published and unpublished submissions are eligible; published submissions must have been published within three years prior to the next deadline for submissions.
Each project may be submitted only once and may not be resubmitted; only one submission per translator is allowed for each iteration of the prize. Translators are not required to be members of the MGSA when submitting their work.
The submission should include: the English translation; the Greek source text; a cover letter; and a one-page translator’s statement. The cover letter should include the name of the title and author of the translated work, as well as the translator’s name, mailing address, and e-mail address. The one-page translator’s statement should explain 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. 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.
Submissions should be sent as PDF attachments to [email protected]
The cover letter (with the translator’s name) must be sent as a separate file; the translator’s statement, translation, and source text (all without the translator’s name) can be sent as one file or as separate files.
Alternatively, submissions can be mailed to the MGSA’s mailing address. In this case, please include one copy of the cover sheet and five copies each of the translator’s statement, translation, and Greek source text.
The next deadline for submissions is 1 April, 2024.
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.
For his translation of selections from Eleni Kefala’s poetry collection, Time Stitches 2022
For his translation of Phoebe Giannisi’s 2016 collection of poetry Ραψωδία (excerpt submitted under the general title Rhapsody) 2019
For his translation of Alexandros Papadiamantis's The Merchant of Nations 2017
The committee comprises five eligible members and is chaired by a member of the MGSA Executive 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.