Award: Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize 2017

The Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University is pleased to announce the 2017 prize honoring the life and work of our colleague, Kyoko Selden. The prize will pay homage to the finest achievements in Japanese literature, thought, and society through the medium of translation. Kyoko Selden’s translations and writings ranged widely across such realms as Japanese women writers, Japanese art and aesthetics, the atomic bomb experience, Ainu and Okinawan life and culture, historical and contemporary literature, poetry and prose, and early education (the Suzuki method). Recognizing the breadth of Japanese writings, classical and contemporary, and with the aim of making such materials more widely available, we ask that prize submissions be of unpublished translations. Collaborative translations are welcomed. In order to encourage classroom use and wide dissemination of the winning entries, prize-winning translations will be made freely available on the web. The winning translations will be published online at The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

Prize selections will take into account both the quality of the translation and the significance of the original work. In cases where a text already published in English is deemed worthy of retranslation, new translations of significant texts are accepted (please provide date and place of earlier publication). Applicants should submit the following to the Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize, Department of Asian Studies, 350 Rockefeller Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853:

  • Three copies of an unpublished translation
  • Three copies of a statement of up to 1,000 words explaining the significance of the text. Although we do not require that the translator has already obtained permission to publish the translation from the copyright holder (in the case of works not in the public domain), please include in the statement information about whether preliminary inquiries have been made.
  • One printed copy of the original Japanese text
  • A brief c.v. of the translator
  • Electronic copies of all the above sent as attachments to seldenprize@cornell.edu.

The maximum length of a submission is 20,000 words. In case of translation of longer works, submit an excerpt of up to 20,000 words. Repeat submissions are welcomed. Please note that the closing date for the prize competition this year will be August 1, 2017. For the 2017 competition, one prize of $1,500 will be awarded in two different categories:

1) to an already published translator; 2) to an unpublished translator. The winners will be announced by November 1, 2017.

Contact Info:

Department of Asian Studies

Contact Email:

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About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of graduate life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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