English PEN marks 250-book milestone in support for translated titles

English PEN marks 250-book milestone in support for translated titles

English PEN is marking the milestone of having supported 250 titles via its Writers in Translation programme, launched in 2006.

The writers' association's programme has supported a list of books translated from 47 languages, with authors from 75 different countries featured. Genres range from poetry to non-fiction, children’s literature and literary fiction.

The first supported book was Anna Politkovskaya’s Putin’s Russia (Harvill Secker), translated by Arch Tait. Many award-winners have featured on the programme including several books that were shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

"Since its inception the programme has seen a remarkable growth in the range of languages supported, with recent titles included lesser-translated languages such as Thai, Belarusian, Farsi and Basque,” English PEN said. "There is also a welcome upward trend of women writers being translated into English. The programme has been an important contributor to the ongoing growth in the translated literature sector.”

To celebrate the 250 books in translation, English PEN is hosting Alia Trabucco Zerán, author of The Remainder, translated by Sophie Hughes and published by And Other Stories, at the PEN Salon at London Book Fair on Tuesday (12th March) at 11am. There will also be a themed panel discussion chaired by writer and translator Daniel Hahn on 6th May at the Brighton Festival.

Antonia Byatt, director of English PEN, said: "The programme has transformed the literary landscape in the UK. English PEN has long been a champion of lesser know voices, and the translation programme is a vital part of this."

Tasja Dorkofikis of Arts Council England said: "The PEN Writers in Translation fund, sponsored by the Arts Council and run with great success and commitment by English PEN, is instrumental in the recent increase in the numbers and diversity of books from other languages appearing in British bookshops."

Under the Writers in Translation programme, the PEN Translates grant has run since 2012 with support from the Arts Council. It aims to support translation costs of up to 100%. PEN Promotes, a grant supporting the promotion of books in translation, ran from 2006 to 2016 with support from Bloomberg. 

All the supported books are showcased on the World Bookshelf website, in partnership with Foyles. Original essays by the supported writers are regularly featured on PEN Transmissions, PEN’s online zine.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Theodora Danek, who manages the translation programme at English PEN, will join Tilted Axis Press as co-publisher on 20th March