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Atkins Awarded Selden Prize for Translation

Paul Atkins at podium delivering lecture
Prof. Atkins giving talk in 2018 as part of the Washin Kai (Friends of Classical Japanese at UW) lecture series.

January 6, 2022

Paul Atkins, Professor of Japanese at the University of Washington, has been awarded the Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize Japanese in Literature, Thought, and Society by the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. This is the first time a UW faculty member has been awarded this prize, which comes with a cash award.

Atkins was awarded the prize based on excerpts from his book-length translation of Shōkenkō 蕉堅稿, a collection of 170 poems in classical Chinese by Zekkai Chūshin 絶海中津 (1336-1405). Zekkai was a medieval Japanese Zen monk, abbot, and accomplished poet who lived in China for nine years at the beginning of the Ming dynasty. As adviser to shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, he was involved in the restoration of official relations between Japan and China in 1401. The selection committee noted that “the translation of these texts into English, along with the transcriptional work that accompanied them, constitutes both a prodigious scholarly effort and a milestone in studies of this genre and period.”  A leader in his field, Atkins also received the William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize by the University of Chicago in 2011.

Examples of these translations and more information can be found in the link below. (link to AL&L article posted December 7, 2021 by Anna Schnell.)