Named in honor of James H. Ottaway, Jr., the first board chair of Words Without Borders, the Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature recognizes individuals who have taken extraordinary steps to advance international literature in English translation. In accordance with WWB’s mission, the awardee will be selected on the basis of their efforts to build cultural understanding by advancing popular awareness of international writers and literatures.
Historically, the Ottaway Award has been presented each year at the Words Without Borders Gala in New York City. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a hiatus was placed on the award in 2020, before resuming in 2021. Past awardees are (below, left to right) Naveen Kishore (2021), Edith Grossman (2019), Chad W. Post (2018), Jill Schoolman (2017), Barbara Epler (2016), Sara Bershtel (2015), Carol Brown Janeway (2014), and Drenka Willen (2013).