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English PEN Translates award: winners announced

  • Published at 05:48 pm June 19th, 2019
Pen Translates

Lit news 

Winners for the Pen Translates award—which aims at encouraging UK-based publishers to publish books from other languages—have recently been announced by English PEN. 

For the first time, translations from Burmese, Vietnamese and Romanian languages have found a place among the winning titles. 

The winning list comprises entries from sixteen countries and eleven languages, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories and children’s literature.  

The winning titles have been selected on the basis of their literary merit and contribution to literary diversity in the UK.

Sarah Ardizzone, co-chair of the English PEN Writers in Translation Committee, said in a statement published on the organization’s website, “The depth of field for these PEN Translates awards is breathtaking—from a hard-hitting memoir by a young Rohingya man, to a poignant children’s illustrated work from Slovenia, via a zany exposé of colonized language in a Belarusian novel. We’re 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.” 

In 2012, to help the publishers meet the cost of publishing and to ensure translators are promoted and paid, PEN Translates award was launched by English PEN—the founding center of PEN International, with support from Arts Council England.

The award offers the publishers fund up to 75% of selected translation projects. If a publisher’s annual turnover could not reach £500,000, the initiative considers bearing up to 100% of the cost. 

Winners’ list of PEN Translates:

Alinarka’s Children by Alhierd Bacharevic, translated from the Belarusian by Jim Dingley.  Country of origin: Belarus.

God 99 by Hassan Blasim, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright. Country of origin: Iraq.

Crossroads and Lampposts by TrầnDần, translated from the Vietnamese by David Payne.  Country of origin: Vietnam.

Exodus by Benjamin Fondane, translated from the French by Henry King and Andrew Rubens.  Country of origin: Romania.

Chaophony by Franketienne, translated from the French by Andres Naffis-Sahely. Country of origin: Haiti.

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

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

A Little Body Are Many Parts by Legna Rodriguez Iglesias, translated from the Spanish by Abigail Parry and Serafina Vick. Country of origin: Cuba.

Theatre of War by Andrea Jeftanovic, translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead. Country of origin: Chile.

Felix and His Suitcase by Dunja Jogan, translated from the Slovenian by Olivia Hellewell.   Country of origin: Slovenia.

The Past Is an Imperfect Tense by Bernardo Kucinski, translated from the Portuguese by Tom Gatehouse. Country of origin: Brazil.

Loop by Brenda Lozano, translated from the Spanish by Annie McDermott.Country of origin: Mexico.

Holiday Heart by Margarita Garcia Robayo, translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Coombe.  Country of origin: Colombia.

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

Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from the Arabic by EliSabeth Jaquette. Country of origin: Germany/Palestine.

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

Hard Like Water by Yan Lianke, translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas. Country of origin: China.