World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Anthea Bell

Article Id: WHEBN0004874360
Reproduction Date:

Title: Anthea Bell  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, Asterix the Gaul, Inkheart trilogy, Claude Voilier, Julia Franck
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Anthea Bell

Anthea Bell OBE (born 1936) is an English translator who has translated numerous literary works, especially children's literature, from French, German and Danish to English.[1] These include Austerlitz, one of the most significant German language works of fiction for the period since World War II, and of the French Asterix comics along with co-translator Derek Hockridge.


  • Biography 1
  • Works 2
  • Notable awards 3
    • Mildred L. Batchelder Award 3.1
      • Batchelder Awards and Honors as translator 3.1.1
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Bell was born in Suffolk. According to her own accounts, she picked up lateral thinking abilities essential in a translator from her father Adrian Bell, Suffolk author and the first Times cryptic crossword setter. After attending a boarding school in Bournemouth, she read English at Somerville College, Oxford.[2]

She lives and works in Cambridge. One of her two sons is Oliver Kamm, who is a leader writer for The Times. Her brother, Martin Bell, is a former BBC correspondent who was an independent Member of Parliament for one parliamentary term.


Anthea Bell has translated numerous Franco-Belgian comics of the bande dessinée genre into English, including Asterix – for which her new puns have been critically acclaimed for keeping the original French spirit intact. Peter Hunt, now Professor Emeritus in Children's Literature at Cardiff University, has written of her "ingenious translations" of the French originals which "in a way display the art of the translator at its best".[3] Other comic books she has translated include Le Petit Nicolas, Lieutenant Blueberry, and Iznogoud.

She specialises in translating children's literature, and has re-translated Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales from Danish for the publishing house of G. P. Putnam's Sons. She also translated the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke and the Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier. Other work includes The Princess and the Captain (2006), translated from La Princetta et le Capitaine by Anne-Laure Bondoux. A book aimed at the youth but serious enough to be read by adults, The Satanic Mill by Otfried Preußler was translated by her from the German original Krabat.

Bell has also translated into English many adult novels, as well as some books on art history, and musicology. Her translations of W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (plus other works by Sebald), a large selection of Stefan Zweig's novellas and stories, Władysław Szpilman's memoir The Pianist, and E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr have been well received.

More recently, Bell has published a new translation of Sigmund Freud's The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.

Notable awards

Bell was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to literature and literary translations.[4]

Mildred L. Batchelder Award

The Mildred L. Batchelder Award is unusual in that it is given to a publisher yet it explicitly references a given work, its translator and author. Its intent is to encourage the translation of children's works into English in order "to eliminate barriers to understanding between people of different cultures, races, nations, and languages."

Anthea Bell, translating from German, French and Danish, has been referenced for more works than any other (including publishers) in the history of the award:

Batchelder Awards and Honors as translator

Year Publisher Title Author Translator Original Language Citation
1976 Henry Z. Walck The Cat and Mouse Who Shared a House Ruth Hürlimann Anthea Bell German Winner[5]
1979 Franklin Watts, Inc Konrad Christine Nöstlinger Anthea Bell German Winner[5]
1990 E.P. Dutton Buster's World Bjarne Reuter Anthea Bell Danish Winner[5]
1995 E.P. Dutton The Boys from St.Petri Bjarne Reuter Anthea Bell Danish Winner[5]
2006 Phaidon Press Limited Nicholas René Goscinny Anthea Bell French Honor[5]
2008 Phaidon Press Nicholas and the Gang René Goscinny Anthea Bell French Honor[5]
2009 Amulet Books Tiger Moon Antonia Michaelis Anthea Bell German Honor[6]


  1. ^ It was formerly claimed on this page that Bell had translated from Polish, but she said this is untrue. See
  2. ^ Claire Armistead "Anthea Bell: 'It's all about finding the tone of voice in the original. You have to be quite free'", The Guardian, 16 November 2013
  3. ^ Peter France (ed) The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, p.111
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59282. p. 9. 31 December 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Batchelder Award Winners". American Library Association. 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2009. 
  6. ^ "Batchelder Award". American Library Association. 2008. Archived from the original on 9 February 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2009. 
  • (London), Thursday 25 February 1999, formerly at the Asterix International siteDaily TelegraphAsterix, My Love – An article by Anthea Bell in the at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 April 2010)
  • , The British Council, ca. 1999Literary TranslationAnthea Bell's workshop on Asterix for at the Wayback Machine (archived 27 March 2006)
  • Opening Speech, Anthea Bell, Shelving Translation Conference, April 2004

External links

  • , March 2010The ConnexionMaking Asterix funny in English,
  • Writer UnboxedAnthea Bell interview with
  • BookslutReviews of Anthea Bell's Stefan Zweig translations at
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.