Margaret Sayers Peden

Margaret Sayers Peden is an American translator and professor emerita of Spanish at the University of Missouri. She lives and works in Columbia, Missouri.

Life and career

Her work covers nearly every genre — poetry, novel, theater and belles lettres — from the 16th century to today. Peden received her bachelor's (1948), master's (1963) and doctorate (1966) from the University of Missouri. She started translating while working toward her doctorate in 1964. Peden was writing on Mexican playwright Emilio Carballido and came across a small novel Carballido had written. Peden shared the book with her former late husband, William Peden, who said, "You know I don't read Spanish. Why don't you translate it for me?" So she did.[1]

Carballido's The Norther (El Norte) became her first published translation in 1970. She continued translating and teaching at the University of Missouri until she retired from teaching in 1989. She still translates works today.

In 2010, Peden's translation of Fernando de Rojas' La Celestina won the 2010 Lewis Galantiere Translation Prize, which the American Translators Association awards every other year to a book-length literary translation.[2]

In 2012, she received the Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation from the PEN American Center. Named in honor of U.S. translator Ralph Manheim, this literary award is given every three years to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of her work. The medal is awarded in recognition of a lifetime achievement in the field of literary translation.[3]

Throughout Peden's career, she has translated more than 60 books from Spanish to English and is considered one of the leading translators of her time.[4]

Selected translations

Awards and honors


  1. "Protected Blog › Log in". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  2. "Press/News Releases". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  4. "MIZZOU Magazine - Peden translates book into national prize". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
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