World Literature Today Announces 2021 Student Translation Prize Winners

May 20, 2021

Photographs of Yu Jian, Xin Xu, Albertine M. Itela, and Mariah Rust. The text identifies Xu and Rust as winners of the WLT Translation Prize

Mariah Rust and Xin Xu recently were named the recipients of the fourth annual translation prize for students sponsored by World Literature Today at the University of Oklahoma. Consistent with World Literature Today’s commitment to publishing literature in translation, the World Literature Today Student Translation Prize recognizes the talent and promise of translation students worldwide.

The editors of WLT judged the competition: Daniel Simon, assistant director and editor in chief; Michelle Johnson, managing and culture editor; and Rob Vollmar, book review and online editor. They selected a winner in each of two categories, prose and poetry. Each prizewinner will receive a cash award, and their winning translations will be published on the WLT website this summer.

Robert Con Davis-Undiano, World Literature Today’s executive director, noted that this prize “continues to attract some of the most talented young translators anywhere.” He added that “World Literature Today will continue to take the lead to highlight the work of young people in the field who need a boost to reach the top in the publishing world.”

Recipients of the 2021 World Literature Today Translation Prize

Mariah Rust won the prose category for her translation from the French of an excerpt of “Gare du Nord,” a story by Kinshasha-born author Albertine M. Itela. Rust is currently earning a master’s degree in translation at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in French literature and translation. Apart from being a published translator, Rust is also an accomplished Scottish Highland dancer who has performed in France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Scotland, Russia and China. Professor George Henson, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, served as her sponsoring faculty member.

Translating Chinese poet Yu Jian from the Chinese, Xin Xu won the poetry category for her translation of three poems: “Reading Glasses,” “Lamenting Lake Dian” and “A Phone Call from Dongyang.” Xu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at the University of Connecticut. She translates classical Chinese prose and contemporary Chinese poetry; her translations of three poems by Yi Sha recently appeared in World Literature Today. Professor Peter Constantine, University of Connecticut, served as her faculty sponsor.