Call for submissions: 2021 Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize

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The Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University is pleased to announce the seventh annual competition for the Kyoko Selden Memorial Prize in Japanese Literature, Thought, and Society. The deadline for submissions for this year’s competition is August 1, 2021. The prize, established in 2014 with contributions from former students, colleagues, and friends, honors the scholarly legacy of Cornell University’s Kyoko Selden (1936-2013). A scholar whose work as critic, editor, and translator ranged from engagement with courtly and medieval texts through contemporary Japanese writings addressing urgent social issues, Kyoko Selden was a beloved teacher of broad-ranging scope. By offering the award to translations still at the unpublished stage, the Kyoko Selden Translation Prize has sought to support and encourage translation and publication of Japanese language materials across a similarly broad range. Winning submissions have been made available online, when feasible, with the support of the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Previous prize-winners are listed at:


The 2021 competition will offer one award in each of two categories noted below for unpublished translations:

1.  Translators who are previously unpublished (excluding work for commercial or professional translation services), $2,500.

2.  Translators of previously published work, $2,500.


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 are encouraged to submit translations electronically to If you wish to submit hard copies, please send them to the Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize, Department of Asian Studies, 350 Rockefeller Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. The required documents are:

  • One copy of the unpublished translation
  • One copy of a statement of up to 1,000 words explaining the significance of the text. Please identify the category of award for which you are applying in this statement. Although we do not require that the translator has already obtained permission to publish the translation from the copyright holder, please include in the statement information about whether preliminary inquiries have been made or whether or not the work is in the public domain.
  • One copy of the original Japanese text (if you are otherwise submitting electronically, but find it more convenient to submit this portion of the material in hard copy, please indicate that in your statement).
  • A brief c.v. of the translator

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 again that the closing date for the prize competition this year will be August 1, 2021. The winners will be informed by November 1, 2021.

Please visit the Asian Studies website: or send questions to for further information.

Reminder: Submissions to Cornell University’s 2021 Selden Prize Competition for translations from Japanese is coming up fast! Materials may be submitted electronically or by hard copy by August 1. Translations of works from across all time periods and genres are welcomed! For details see the prize announcement at: