Thursday, June 13, 2019

Two Arabic titles among recipients of latest batch of English PEN's translation awards

English PEN announces PEN Translates award-winning titles

The awards go to books from sixteen countries, in eleven languages including Arabic. 

Books from sixteen countries and eleven languages make up the latest round of PEN Translates award winners. They include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories and childrens literature and for the first time translations from the Burmese, Vietnamese and Romanian.

The two titles translated from Arabic are God 99 by Iraqi writer Hassan Blasim, translated by Jonathan Wright, due out from Comma Press in January 2020 and Minor Detail by Palestinian-German author Adania Shibli, translated f by Elisabeth Jaquette, to be published by. Fitzcarraldo Editions in May 2020. 

Jonathan Wright (L) and Hassan Blasim in 2012 

Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager, English PEN, said:

"These awards go to seventeen books of outstanding merit and courage. In a moment where the movement of art and ideas across borders is being challenged, translation is a vital corrective. We are thrilled that PEN Translates continues to contribute to literary accessibility and internationalism, and to ensure translators are paid properly for their work. Were excited that the UK public will get to read these important books."

Sarah Ardizzone, Co-chair of the English PEN Writers in Translation Committee, said:

"The depth of field for these PEN Translates awards is breathtaking from a hard-hitting memoir by a young Rohingya man, to a poignant childrens illustrated work from Slovenia, via a zany exposé of colonised language in a Belarusian novel. Were proud to be supporting outstanding literary fiction from across Latin America, as well as China, Vietnam, Palestine, Iraq and Romania; together with poetry from Haiti, Cuba and Romania, and short story collections from Malaysia and Myanmar. Dynamic and innovative models for international publishing are especially to be saluted, in a list that is proactively both global and local."

Books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, strength of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK. The award-winning books are featured on the English PEN World Bookshelf website, in partnership with Foyles.

PEN Translates award winners:
Alinarkas Children by Alhierd Bacharevic, translated from Belarusian by Jim Dingley. Scotland Street Press, June 2019. Country of origin: Belarus.

God 99 by Hassan Blasim, translated from Arabic by Jonathan Wright. Comma Press, January 2020. Country of origin: Iraq.

Crossroads and Lampposts by Trn Dn, translated from Vietnamese by David Payne. Oneworld Books, September 2020. Country of origin: Vietnam.

Exodus by Benjamin Fondane, translated from French by Henry King and Andrew Rubens. Carcanet Press, Autumn 2019. Country of origin: Romania.

Chaophony by Franketienne, translated from French by Andres Naffis-Sahely. Carcanet Press, Autumn 2019. Country of origin: Haiti.

First They Erased Our Names: A Rohingya Speaks by Habiburahman and Sophie Ansel, translated from  French by Andrea Reece. Scribe, August 2019. Country of origin: Australia/Myanmar.

Lake Like A Mirror by Ho Sok Fong, translated from  Chinese by Natascha Bruce. Granta Books, January 2010. Country of origin: Malaysia.

A Little Body Are Many Parts by Legna Rodriguez Iglesias, translated from Spanish by Abigail Parry and Serafina Vick. The Poetry Translation Centre, October 2019. Country of origin: Cuba.

Theatre of War by Andrea Jeftanovic, translated from Spanish by Thomas Bunstead. Charco Press, January 2020. Country of origin: Chile.

Felix and His Suitcase by Dunja Jogan, translated from Slovenian by Olivia Hellewell. Tiny Owl, May 2020. Country of origin: Slovenia.

The Past Is an Imperfect Tense by Bernardo Kucinski, translated from Portuguese by Tom Gatehouse. Latin American Bureau, November 2019. Country of origin: Brazil.

Loop by Brenda Lozano, translated from Spanish by Annie McDermott. Charco Press, November 2019. Country of origin: Mexico.

Holiday Heart by Margarita Garcia Robayo, translated from Spanish by Charlotte Coombe. Charco Press, May 2020. Country of origin: Colombia.

The Town with the Acacia Tree by Mihail Sebastian, translated from Romanian by Gabi Reigh. Aurora Metro, September 2019. Country of origin: Romania.

Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette. Fitzcarraldo Editions, May 2020. Country of origin: Germany/Palestine.

Yezet by various, translated from the Burmese by Alfred Birnbaum. Strangers Press, November 2019. Country of origin: Myanmar.

Hard Like Water by Yan Lianke, translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas. Chatto & Windus, February 2020. Country of origin: China.
English PEN's Writers in Translation programme has been promoting literature in translation since 2005. Overseen by a dedicated committee of literary professionals, the programme includes a dynamic portfolio of activities, which includes translation grants, events, and PEN Transmissions, an online magazine of international writing.

English PEN's major publisher grants programme, PEN Translates, awards grants to UK publishers for translation costs and is supported by Arts Council England. Together with the PEN Promotes programme (supported by Bloomberg) over 300 books in translation have been supported by English PEN grants since 2005.

English PEN, a registered charity, promotes the freedom to write and the freedom to read in the UK and around the world. The founding centre of a worldwide writers' association, established in 1921, we work to identify and dismantle barriers between writers and readers, whether these are cultural, political, linguistic or economic. In 2011 English PEN was awarded the highest funding increase in the literature sector by Arts Council England to develop literature in translation.