To Speak England in Different Languages

A literary prize for any language but one

| Submissions: May 21-July 21, 2021



This unique literary prize is for anyone who lives in England and lives between languages. Language is unique in that it offers us a way of holding more than one identity, one credo, one country at the same time.

In the year of Brexit, “To Speak England in Different Languages” celebrates the linguistic and cultural mixes and multiplicities that inhabit this country by inviting those who speak more than one language to make creative use of each language, and of the movements between them.


The submitted texts can be written in any language but English, by everyone who feels at home in a language that isn’t English.

The authors are asked to write in the language they feel they belong to – or that makes them feel the most acute sense of longing: the language they use to talk to themselves or with their families.

The submitted texts should address the experience of living between languages. No previous writing experience is required, and the texts can be of any genre (narrative, essay, poetry, drama, or a mix of them).

The submitted texts should be accompanied by the authors’ own translation into English: the English translation will not be judged by the parameters of standard English, it can simply reflect the authors’ English competence.

A personal or imaginative interplay between the two versions is welcome: this is to invite the authors to explore creatively the space between languages they cross constantly in their everyday life.

Besides these two versions, authors must submit a short description of their project and its context, in English.



  • 2,500 GBP
  • Publication of the shortlisted texts on “Specimen. The Babel Review of Translations”
  • Prize-giving and public reading showcasing the shortlisted authors


  • Launch of call: May 21, 2021
  • Deadline for submissions: July 21, 2021
  • Winner announcement: autumn 2021

Submission guidelines

  • No entry fee
  • The texts must be submitted digitally, in .doc, .txt, .rtf or .pdf format, to:
  • The submitted text’s word limit is 2,000 words for prose, 40 lines for poetry.
  • The submitted texts should include the title and the applicant’s name
  • The submitted texts must be accompanied by a short description in English
  • The submitted texts must be unpublished; each person can submit one text only


  • To be eligible submissions should arrive by 11.59 pm (BST) on July 21, 2021
  • The submitted texts must be the participant’s own original creation and must not infringe upon the right or copyright of any person or entity
  • Only one entry per person is allowed
  • Entries that are incomplete, corrupted, or submitted after the deadline will not be considered
  • Shortlisted applicants will be asked to prove place of residence while retaining the right to publication under any name they choose
  • Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted
  • The jury’s verdict is final and unobjectionable
  • Specimen reserves the right to vary the rules and conditions of entry and to make any amendments to the published schedule as deemed necessary


The judging panel is composed of a selection of writers and translators who embody, in different ways, the prize’s ethos.


Specimen. The Babel Review of Translations
Specimen. The Babel Review of Translations is a multilingual web magazine that publishes fiction, non-fiction, frictions, and poetry, and especially their combinations and mixtures, in the original language and in an ever-growing number of translations into other languages and alphabets.
Enjoying the ebb and flow of different alphabets, Specimen aims to bring the typographical care of the written page to the internet and to respect the slower pace that this care requires.
The magazine employs the outreach of the worldwide web to contrast blanket globalization, explore the world’s diversities, and nurture the continuous exchanges between languages, places, and voices.
The first edition of the “To Speak” Prize was launched in 2020: called “To Speak Europe in Different Languages”, it was created by Specimen in collaboration with Sulaiman Addonia, Asmara-Addis Literary Festival (In Exile), and the European Cultural Foundation.

In collaboration with:
English PEN
Poetry Translation Centre
Poetry London
Babel Festival

With the communication support of:
EUNIC London
FILL Festival
Migrant Voice
Migration Museum

For enquiries:

For updates and info:

Supported using public funding
by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

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