Drahomán Prize

This award is given to translators who translate from Ukrainian into another language. The Prize was launched in 2020 by the Ukrainian Institute, PEN Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Book Institute.

Objective of the Prize

The Prize aims to support and acknowledge the enlightening work of those who translate from Ukrainian into other languages. These translators bring Ukrainian literature to the world and thus draw the world’s attention to Ukraine through the works of Ukrainian authors.

This Prize is awarded for:

excellence in translation; and
contribution to the promotion of Ukrainian literature abroad.


The Prize is open to all translators, regardless of their country of residence, who have at least one translated and published literary or documentary work. Literary and documentary works include prose, poetry, drama, and non-fiction (essays, journals, interviews, biographies, memoirs, and the like).

The nominated book of the translator must have been published by a foreign publisher within the three years prior to the award year and should be compatible with values and principles of the founding organizations.

A translator may be nominated for this Prize by the jury members as well as by foreign cultural institutions, diplomatic institutions, research centres, publishers, and creative associations.

The nomination submission should include:

1.a duly filled electronic submission form (see https://bit.ly/3hXE58u);
2. electronic and hard copies of the nominated book. Hard copies should be sent to the following address:

Український осередок Міжнародного ПЕНклубу, вул. Борисоглібська, 15В, оф. 2, Київ 04070, Україна [PEN Ukraine, 15V Borysohlibska St., Office #2, Kyiv 04070, Ukraine]. Electronic submissions should be sent to the following email address: drahoman.prize@gmail.com.

Submissions for 2020 will be accepted from 24 September to 30 November 2020.

The Prize Jury

The Prize jury consists of nine experts — reputable writers, translators, linguists, literary scholars, and cultural leaders. Every year the jury will include the General Director of the Ukrainian Institute, the President of PEN Ukraine, and the Director of the Ukrainian Book Institute. Other jury members will be appointed annually by the founding organizations.

Appointed jury members may not serve for more than three consecutive years at a time.

Jury members have the right to consult with experts (such as translators, linguists, literary scholars, and diplomats) in the process of their deliberations.

The 2020 Prize Jury:

Andriy Kurkov – writer, President of PEN Ukraine
Volodymyr Sheiko – General Director of the Ukrainian Institute
Oleksandra Koval – Director of the Ukrainian Book Institute
Ola Hnatiuk – researcher, professor at National University of  the “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” and the University of Warsaw, Vice-President of PEN Ukraine
Ostap Slyvynsky – poet and translator
Valentyna Stukalova – manager of book and intellectual projects at Institut francais d’Ukraine [Institute of France in Ukraine]
Natalia Ivanychuk – translator
Yurii Prokhasko – translator
Marko Robert Stech – Ukrainian and Canadian literary scholar and writer

The Selection Process

The winner of the Prize will be selected in three stages:

Stage 1 — members of the jury will come up with a long list of candidates; this list will be announced no later than December 15;
Stage 2 — jury members will vote on a short list, which will be announced no later than March 15;
Stage 3 — the jury will determine the winner of the Prize by anonymous vote.

The Awards Ceremony

The winner of the Prize will be announced during an official awards ceremony. This ceremony will be held every April in Kyiv, and three finalists will be invited to participate.

The Drahomán Prize winner will receive a statuette designed by a prominent Ukrainian sculptor and a 2,000 EUR cash prize (taxes included). The Ukrainian Institute and the Ukrainian Book Institute will also provide professional opportunities and promote the laureate’s work (translation residencies and participation in international fairs and festivals).

The Naming of the Prize

Yurii Prokhasko, translator and member of the Prize jury:

“There is a remarkable constellation of meaning within the Ukrainian cultural paradigm from which we can draw exceptional ‘semantic added value.’ Simply, it would be a sin not to take advantage of it. What I am referring to is the etymological similarity between the term dragoman, meaning, ‘translator, interpreter, and exegete; mediator; (cultural) diplomat; learned person; and facilitator of comprehension and mutual understanding,’ and the surname of one of the leading figures in the canon of Ukrainian intellectual history — Mykhailo Drahomanov.

This award, as is readily apparent, is neither specifically dedicated to Drahomanov nor directly bears his name, and it does not refer to his particular legacy. However, the figure of Mykhailo Drahomanov symbolizes and represents the determination and active effort of conveying Ukraine to the world and the world to Ukraine and of including Ukraine in the global context and, in turn, bringing the global context to Ukraine. This circumstance is in glorious alignment with the intention and tone of the Drahomán Prize and very graciously lends richness and reflection to its meaning.

It would be ideal if a knowledgeable person today could immediately discern all of these nuances. But in the end, it is enough for only one association to resonate in their mind — that this award is for translators. We can add that the term dragoman is used and can be understood in many languages of the world. And when we write the name of this international prize in Latin transliteration with a pronounced h, we are underscoring its Ukrainian dimension even more.”