William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize in Japanese Literature

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The William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize was established by the Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations and the Committee on Japanese Studies of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago in honor of their late colleague William F. Sibley. In keeping with William Sibley's lifelong devotion to translation and to the place of literature in the classroom, up to three awards of $2,500 each will be given each year for previously unpublished translations of Japanese literature into English. The competition is held annually and judged by faculty members of the Committee on Japanese Studies. In order to encourage variety of time period and genre, the annual competitions will alternate between categories. We welcome submissions from users of the Japanese language in various walks of life.

  • To encourage classroom use and comparative research, winning entries will be published on the Center for East Asian Studies website.
  • Materials under contract for print publication will not be accepted.
  • New translations of works previously translated are acceptable.
  • Co-translations will be accepted, but the committee will only consider one submission per person per year.
  • It is the responsibility of applicants to secure permission from copyright holders for any works not in the public domain. Proof of permission from the copyright holder to translate and publish to the web must accompany the submission of any work not in the public domain.

Translations will be evaluated in a blind review process according to three criteria: significance of the original work; quality of the translation; and quality of the introduction. Applicants are encouraged to think of translation as a creative act. 

For 2013-14, the committee seeks submissions of modern and premodern (pre-Meiji) poetry, drama, and essays. Deadline: January 13, 2014. 
Submit your translation online.

Required documents for submission:

  • An introduction to the translation (Word or PDF format, 800 words max).  Introductions should situate the work for the general reader, helping them understand why they should care about the translated work. If applicable, should cite any prior translations and provide a rationale for the new rendition.
  • Your English translation (Word format, 15,000 words max)
  • Original Japanese text (Word or PDF format)

View Past Winning Translations

Questions? Email eastasia@uchicago.edu