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Anthea Bell: Wikis


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Anthea Bell OBE (born 1936) is a British translator who has translated numerous literary works, especially children's literature, from French, German, Danish and Polish to English. She is, however, best known for her translations of the French Asterix comics along with co-translator Derek Hockridge.



Bell was born in Suffolk, United Kingdom. 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. She was educated at Somerville College, Oxford.

She presently lives and works from Cambridge, United Kingdom. Her son, Oliver Kamm, is a columnist for The Times. Her brother, Martin Bell, is a former MP and a former BBC correspondent, who is now an ambassador for UNICEF.


Anthea Bell has translated numerous Franco-Belgian comics of the bande dessinée genre into English, most notably Asterix – for which her innovative new puns have been critically acclaimed for keeping the original French spirit intact. Other notable comic books she has translated include Le Petit Nicolas, Lieutenant Blueberry, and Iznogoud.

She specializes 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. Other work includes The Princess and the Captain (2006), translated from La Princetta et le capitaine by Anne-Laure Bondoux. A book aimed to 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 a large number of adult novels, as well as some books on art history, and musicology into English. Her translations of W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz (plus other works by Sebald), a large selection of Stefan Zweig's novellas and stories, Wladyslaw Szpilman's memoir The Pianist, and E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr have been well received critically.

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.[1]


Mildred L. Batchelder Award

The 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 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[2]
1979 Franklin Watts, Inc Konrad Christine Nöstlinger Anthea Bell German Winner[2]
1990 E.P. Dutton Buster's World Bjarne Reuter Anthea Bell Danish Winner[2]
1995 E.P. Dutton The Boys from St. Petri Bjarne Reuter Anthea Bell Danish Winner[2]
2006 Phaidon Press Limited Nicholas René Goscinny Anthea Bell French Honor[2]
2008 Phaidon Press Nicholas and the Gang René Goscinny Anthea Bell French Honor[2]
2009 Amulet Books Tiger Moon Antonia Michaelis Anthea Bell German Honor[3]


External links


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