The Babel Prize for Literature

Each year, the Babel Prize for Literature is awarded to "honor breakthroughs in literature crossing between languages" — from any one language to any other. The prize can be given to either a translator or writer, on the basis of a major work or for lifetime achievements furthering literary communication across cultural and linguistic contexts.

First awarded under its current name in 2021, the Babel Prize has roots in an earlier predecessor, the Rainer Schulte Prize, also established to pay tribute to remarkable phenomena in translated literature.

The Babel Prize for Literature recognizes individuals whose literary emergence inverts the ancient symbol of the Tower of Babel—the human endeavor as doomed to linguistic and moral insularity. In their lives, creativity and craft, awardees employ the force of literary translation as a means to escape personal and societal solipsism. Instead they answer a call to obey a deeper, farther-reaching coherency.

Translated literature epitomizes the human capacity for love as service, attentiveness and empathy. Relaying beauty and wisdom from one heart to another, literary translation nurtures the spaces between us as sites for grace.

Nominations for the Babel Prize for Literature are accepted from established literary translators, representatives of publishers of literary translations, and accredited literary academics, as well as from Babel Prize committee members and other advisers. Nominations are due by the end of the year preceding the year for each award. Award decisions are made by the Babel Prize committee.

Because we care about writers and writing, our prize organizers strive to make each year's award a special event for the recipient and the public, both internationally and indigenously for each honoree. In addition to an official announcement, the winning writer may opt to receive the prize's diploma, personalized medal and commemorative gift during an award ceremony in the recipient's own location.

In such cases, wherever on Earth the writer resides or prefers to arrange the ceremony, the prize committee will cover the costs and time investment for a delegate's travel to the location, and will organize the ceremony itself.

This way of marking the occasion of awards can be particularly meaningful where the creative and cultural communities and observers generally best informed about the writers' work, as well as friends, family and other interested audiences, can most readily share in celebrations. Such gatherings can also add to how the awardees are understood elsewhere in the world.

Babel Prize Laureates

2023 - Tatyana Apraksina (Russia)
2022 - Eqerem Gaxholli (Albania - France)
2021 - Rosalba Fantastico di Kastron (Italy)


The Gown of the Babel Prize for Literature

The Babel Prize for Literature's official gown, worn during the award presentation ceremony by the delegate delivering the prize, was designed by Djalilova Khurshida Mirkholikovna, PhD, and gifted by the designer.