Harvill Secker

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The home of the best writing from around the world

A brief history of Harvill Secker

Harvill Secker is the home of the best in international literature from around the world, born of two distinguished lists – The Harvill Press and Secker & Warburg – that between them survived Blitz bombings, multiple bankruptcies and an obscenity trial – whilst coolly publishing over 20 Nobel and Booker Prize-winners.

Today we publish some of the most exciting writers from across the globe, bringing together works in English and in translation, from Karl Ove Knausgaard and Haruki Murakami to Ruth Ware, J.M. Coetzee and Louis de Bernières, alongside a bestselling crime list whose stars number Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell and Fred Vargas. We are passionate about finding and championing the great storytellers of the future, building on an iconic roster that includes Raymond Carver, Tennessee Williams, George Orwell, D.H. Lawrence, Mikhail Bulgakov and Franz Kafka.

Books published by Harvill Secker include:

A Death in the Family book cover

Karl Ove Knausgaard

A Death in the Family 

Sapiens book cover

Yuval Noah Harari


The Snowman book cover

Jo Nesbo

The Snowman

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle book cover

Haruki Murakami

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Night Circus book cover

Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

HHhH Book cover

Laurent Binet


In a Dark Dark Wood cover

Ruth Ware

In a Dark Dark Wood

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin book cover

Louis de Bernières

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Out Stealing Horses book cover

Per Petterson

Out Stealing Horses

The Name of the Rose book cover

Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose


“All about animals and very anti-Russian! I’m afraid you’re not going to like it.”

George Orwell pitching Animal Farm to Fredric Warburg of Secker & Warburg.

The book went on to save the company.


The Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize

Harvill Secker is delighted to announce Marta Eidsvåg as the winner of the 2016 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. Marta was awarded her prize at a reception at International Translation Day on 30th September 2016.

Marta receives £1,000, a selection of Vintage titles, and will take part in a Writers’ Centre Norwich Emerging Translator Mentorship with acclaimed translator and judge of this year’s prize Don Bartlett. Marta will also participate in Crossing Border festival in November 2016.

On receiving her award, Marta said: ‘I am so thrilled and honoured to be getting this incredible opportunity. I have been doing translation for some time now, but this seems an important step towards what I really want to be doing, which is literary translation. Being chosen for this prize is above all else great inspiration and encouragement, especially for someone who translates into a second language.’

Now in its seventh year, the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize aims to recognise the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers. The prize is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34, with no restriction on country of residence. This year’s chosen language is Norwegian, and entrants were asked to translate the short story ‘Svømme under vann’ by Merethe Lindstrøm, from her collection of the same name. Marta’s winning translation, ‘Swimming Underwater’, is available to read on the Granta website.

The judges – Mariella Frostrup, Joanna Kavenna, Don Bartlett and Ellie Steel – commented: ‘We had a hugely promising and impressive array of entries this year and, for the first time in the prize’s seven-year history, have decided to recommend our full shortlist, who should all be praised for their efforts. Amidst strong competition, we chose Marta’s translation for her brilliant rendering of the relationships between the characters, the atmosphere and momentum of her prose, and her ability to tell the story in English whilst remaining faithful to Merethe Lindstrøm’s original.’

Our runners-up are Dante Cassius, Alice Fletcher, Caroline Jones, Tanjil Rashid, Siri Sjåvik and Hayley Wood

If you have any queries, please contact us at: youngtranslatorsprize@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

Marta Eidsvåg (born 1990) is a translator and writer from Trondheim, Norway. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the department of Language and Literature at NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology), having previously studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She works as a freelance translator, primarily for scholars within the humanities. She recently published an essay on Game of Thrones and motherhood in the anthology Women of Ice and Fire (Bloomsbury, 2016), and also writes poetry and fiction.

About Merethe Lindstrøm

MERETHE LINDSTRØM was born in Bergen and made her literary debut in 1983 with the publication of the short story collection titled Sexorcisten og andre fortellinger. Since then she has published several novels and collections of short stories, and a children’s book.

She was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize and for the Norwegian Critics’ Award in 2008 for her short-story collection The Guests. The same year, she received the Doubloug Prize for her entire literary work. Her novel Days in the History of Silence won the Nordic Council Literature Prize and the Norwegian Critics’ Prize.

Her most recent novel is From the Winter Archives, published in 2015. She lives in Oslo, Norway.

Photograph © Ellen Lande Gossner

The Judges

Mariella Frostrup (broadcaster)

Mariella Frostrup is a writer and broadcaster, best known as presenter of Radio 4’s long-running weekly programme Open Book. She has had her own weekly agony column, Dear Mariella, for the Observer newspaper for the last 10 years, and writes regularly for other newspapers and magazines.

(photo by Kate Martin)


Joanna Kavenna (author)

Joanna Kavenna is the author of The Ice Museum, Inglorious (which won the Orange Prize for New Writing), The Birth of Love, Come to the Edge and A Field Guide to Reality. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Guardian, Observer, Telegraph, Spectator, London Review of Books and New York Times and she has held writing fellowships at St Antony's College Oxford and St John's College Cambridge. In 2011 she was named as one of the Telegraph's 20 Writers Under 40 and in 2013 was listed as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in Oxfordshire.

(photo by A. Michaelis)

Don Bartlett (translator)

Don Bartlett lives in Norfolk and works as a freelance translator of Scandinavian literature. He has translated, or co-translated, a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian books by such writers as Karl Ove Knausgaard, Per Petterson, Roy Jacobsen, Jo Nesbo and Ida Jessen.

Ellie Steel (editor)

Ellie Steel is an editor at Harvill Secker, where she works with authors including Karl Ove Knausgaard, Per Petterson, Dag Solstad and Karin Fossum. Ellie is the coordinator of the annual Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize.

Previous winners of the Young Translators’ Prize

2010: ‘El hachazo’ by Matías Néspolo, translated from the Spanish by Beth Fowler

2011: ‘Gothic Night’ by Mansoura Ez Eldin, translated from the Arabic by Wiam El-Tamami

(available to read on Granta)

2012: ‘The Wig’ by Han Don, translated from the Chinese by Philip Hand

(available to read on Granta)

2013: ‘O sucesso’ by Adriana Lisboa, translated from the Portuguese by Lucy Greaves

(available to read on Granta)

2014: ‘Der Hausfreund’ by Julia Franck, translated from the German by Eleanor Collins

(available to read on Granta)

2015: ‘Tatuaż’ by Maciej Miłkowski, translated from the Polish by Tul’si (Tuesday) Bhambry

(available to read on Granta)

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