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 Erica Chung as the winner of the 2017 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. The prize was awarded at the International Translation Day reception at the British Library on 2 October 2017.

Erica receives £1,000 and a selection of Vintage titles. She will also take part in a Writers’ Centre Norwich Emerging Translator Mentorship, presented in association with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, with acclaimed translator and judge of this year’s prize Deborah Smith.

Erica’s winning translation, Seven People with the Same Name and their Discrete Moments by Han Yujoo, will be available to read on the Granta website shortly.

On receiving her award, Erica said: ‘I am honoured and grateful to be awarded the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. In an era when difference seems to catalyse more division than understanding, literary translation remains a critical bridge for the cultivation of empathy, as well as a bulwark of the rich cultural diversity that is our global inheritance. In light of this, I feel incredibly privileged to be able to contribute, in my own small way, to the growing repository of translated literature in the world, especially through the year-long mentorship with Deborah Smith made possible by the prize. I’d like to reiterate my sincere thanks to Harvill Secker, to Deborah Smith, and to all of this year’s judges once more for this wonderful opportunity.’

Now in its eight 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 was Korean and entrants were asked to translate a short story by Han Yujoo.

The judges – Deborah Smith, Jonathan Morley and Ellie Steel – commented: ‘It’s exciting to see such strength in a language that’s still relatively untranslated, and there was a real variety of approaches to translating Han Yujoo’s richly detailed story. Erica’s translation stood out for its fluency and assuredness in treating the story as a work of literature.’

The runner-up is a co-translation by Narei Choi and Sunhee Jeong.

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



About Erica Chung

Erica Chung
, 33, received her B.A. cum laude from Cornell University, majoring in English Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. It was at Cornell that she first became interested in the translation of Korean literature, working under the guidance of Michael Shin to translate parts of Yi Chong-jun’s Seopyonje. Since then, she has worked as a public health professional, educator, and freelance editor in a wide variety of contexts and countries, including South Korea, the U.S., and India. Erica currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

About Han Yujoo

Han Yujoo was born in Seoul in 1982. She studied German literature at Hongik University, and is pursuing her master’s degree in Comparative Literature from Seoul National University (the most prestigious in South Korea). Her debut novel The Impossible Fairy Tale was translated into English by Janet Hong and was recently published by Graywolf in the USA and by Tilted Axis Press in the UK, following her short story collections published previously in Korean: To the Moon, Book of Ice, and My Left Hand the King, My Right Hand the King’s Scribe.

In 2009, Han Yujoo won the prestigious Hankook Ilbo Literary Award, whose past recipients include the Man Asian Prize-winner, Shin Kyung-sook. Han Yujoo is also a notable translator and has translated Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table, Geoff Dyer’s But Beautiful and The Ongoing Moment, among others, into Korean. She is an active member of the experimental group Rue and also runs her own micro-press, Olipo Press, focusing on experimental fiction.

Han Yujoo will be the writer in residence at Writers’ Centre Norwich from July to September 2017.

The Judges

Deborah Smith (translator)
Deborah Smith's translations from the Korean include The Vegetarian, Human Acts and The White Book by Han Kang, and A Greater Music and Recitation by Bae Suah. In 2015 Deborah founded Tilted Axis Press, publishing cult contemporary Asian writing. In 2016 her translation of The Vegetarian won the Man Booker International Prize and an LTI Korea Award. She also won an Arts Foundation Award for her work as a translator both on and off the page, which includes teaching, mentoring, consultancy and reviewing. She studied English at the University of Cambridge and Korean Literature at SOAS. She tweets as @londonkoreanist.

Jonathan Morley (Writers’ Centre Norwich)
Jonathan Morley coordinates the Emerging Translator Mentorships programme for Writers’ Centre Norwich, and teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou.

Ellie Steel (editor)
Ellie Steel is an editor at Harvill Secker, where she works with authors including Karl Ove KnausgaardÉdouard LouisStefan Hertmans and Dag Solstad. 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)

2016: ‘Svømme under vann’ by Merethe Lindstrøm, translated from the Norwegian by Marta Eidsvåg

(available to read on Granta)

Harvill Secker is proud to work with

Writers’ Centre Norwich is a centre for national and international literary exchange in England’s first UNESCO City of Literature.  Its mission is to put literature at the heart of contemporary culture.  Through pioneering and collaborative projects, it explores the artistic and social power of creative writing and literary translation.  It is due to open as the National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall Norwich in 2018. www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk


The Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea) is a government-affiliated organization which acts as a centre for promoting Korean literature and culture. Its aim is to serve as an international hub for collaboration between translation and publication specialists. While LTI Korea introduces Korean writers to the readership outside of Korea, LTI Korea runs Translation Academy to foster the next generation of professional translators of Korean literature. Starting 2015, it also runs Korean to English workshop during International Literary Translation & Creative Writing Summer School in collaboration with BCLT and WCN. 

More resources for Harvill Secker

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