Awardee Database


Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh

Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh was awarded this prize for his translation of Born upon the Dark Spear: Selected Poems of Ahmad Shamlu (Contra Mundum Press, 2015). Known for his voice of resilient defiance and political dissent, Shamlu is one of the most prominent literary figures in twentieth century Iran, evidenced by his nomination for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1984. While previous translations of Shamlu’s work have been limited in scope, leaving his poetry relatively unknown in the English-speaking world, Born upon the Dark Spear showcases 78 poems from throughout his career, honoring his use of poetry to respond to the political tyranny and social upheaval he observed in his country.

Mohaghegh’s translation is noteworthy both for its groundbreaking collection of poems, and its exceptional quality. Born upon the Dark Spear expertly captures the tone and spirit of Shamlu’s poetry, enabling readers to engage with it as an ever-relevant commentary on inequality, oppression and indifference.

Nastaran Kherad

Nastaran Kherad’s translation of The Neighbors (Austin, TX: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 2013), by Ahmad Mahmoud, tells the story of a young man whose involvement in Iran’s oil industry in the 1950s leads him to discover that the world is bigger than the poverty surrounding him.

Janet Afary & John R. Perry

Charand-o Parand: Revolutionary Satire from Iran, 1907-1909 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016), translated by Janet Afary and John R. Perry, gives a new audience access to the essays and newspaper columns of Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda, which entertain as they offer a critical evaluation of Iran’s old political order.

Geoffrey Squires

For his volume entitled Hafez: Translations and Interpretations of the Ghazals (Miami Univ. Press). In this volume Squires, who is an accomplished Irish poet and lived in Iran for three years, captures the energy and depth of the iconic poet Hafez in contemporary English without archaisms or a predetermined interpretation. It displays a supple and at times even exhilarating handling of language and form.

Dick Davis

For his translation of Vis and Ramin, an ancient Persian epic composed by the poet Fakhraddin Gorgani. The Prize was announced by AIIS President Franklin Lewis in August 2012 at a conference of the International Society of Iranian Studies in Istanbul. No winner has been announced yet for 2013. Davis is Chair of of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University

Sholeh Wolpe

For her translation of Sin: Selected Poems of Forough Farrokhzad (Univ of Arkansas Press 2008, preface by Alicia Ostriker). Frank Lewis, the president of the American Institute for Iranian Studies, notes that this musical and compelling version draws the reader along and catches the exquisite balance and pacing of the poet’s language; he hopes that this translation will help Farrokhzad claim her rightful place in the international canon. Wolpe is an Iranian-American poet, literary translator and visual artist; see her website at

Mohammad Ghanooparvar

For his book entitled Translating the Garden (Univ of Texas Press), coupling the difficult work of Shahrokh Meskoob (Dialogue in the Garden) with a companion essay on translation.

Jawid Mojadeddi

For his translation of the first volume of the Masnavi, by Jalal al-Din Rumi. Oxford’s Mojadeddi brings scholarly rigor to this translation of the first of six volumes by a classic poet who has not always been well served by translators.

Jerry Clinton

For his translation of the Rostam and Esfandyar episodes of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic. It has been called “clearly the finest English verse translation of Ferdowsi in existence.”

*The Prix Coindreau Prize, The Jeanne Varnay Pleasants Prize for Language Teaching, and the CASVA-Henry & Judith Millon Award are currently inactive.