English PEN awards 16 grants to writers

English PEN awards 16 grants to writers

English PEN has awarded eight grants to books by international women writers, marking an “exciting first” for women authors to have shared in the prestigious grants equally with men.

In what has been described as a "bumper English PEN grants season", a total of 16 grants were awarded this round, eight to books by international women writers, including Han Kang, Karmele Jaio and Lydie Salvayre.

Kang, the acclaimed author of The Vegetarian, will publish her novel Human Acts (Portobello Books) in January 2016 with the backing of both a PEN Promotes and a PEN Translates grant, translated from Korean by Deborah Smit. Jaio's My Mother's Hands (Parthian Books) will be translated from Basque and Salvayre's Cry, Mother Spain (Maclehose Press) translated from French with the help of the PEN Translates award. 

It is also the first round in which publishers with a turnover of less than £500,000 a year were eligible to apply for 100% of translation costs, with five 100% grants awarded.

Four books, all by writers from outside Europe, were awarded a PEN Promotes grant in this round: The Book Of Dhaka (Comma Press) edited by Ra Page; The Book of Khartoum (Comma Press) edited by Raphael Cormack and Max Shmookler; and I Stared at the Night of the City (Periscope) by Bakhtiyar Ali. In total, 15 languages were represented across both grants, including Sorani Kurdish, Occitan, Basque, Nynorsk, Turkish and Bangla.

Samantha Schnee, a trustee of English PEN and chair of the Writers in Translation Committee, said: "This round of PEN grants is an exciting first in that there is an equal number of male and female authors. Another exciting development is that we had more submissions than ever from independent publishers. The PEN Promotes grants include two collections of stories from Sudan and Bangladesh, a Korean novel, and a Kurdish epic and, as a whole, these 19 titles provide an excellent window onto the world."

English PEN was awarded the highest funding increase in the literature sector in 2011 by Arts Council England to develop literature in translation.

The full list of winners for a 2015 PEN Translates award are:

Human Acts by Han Kang, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith (Portobello Books)  January 2016
The Man I Became by Peter Verhelst, translated from Dutch by David Colmer (Peirene Press)
Crystal Wedding by Xu Xiaobin, translated from Mandarin by Nicky Harman (Balestier Press)
Kruso by Lutz Seiler, translated from German by Tess Lewis (Scribe UK)  
This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets, translated from Spanish by Valerie Miles. (Harvill Secker)
Khomeiny, Sade and Me by Abnousse Shalmani, translated from French by Charlotte Coombe (World Editions)
Cry, Mother Spain by Lydie Salvayre, translated from French by Ben Faccini (Maclehose Press)
Encircling 2 by Carl Frode Tiller, translated from Nynorsk by Barbara J Haveland (Sort Of Books)
What Good Is a Revolution If I Can't Dance by Ece Temelkuran, translated from Turkish by Alexander Dawe (Parthian Books)
About My Mother by Tahar Ben Jelloun, translated from French by Ros Schwartz and Lulu Norman (Saqi Books)
The November Boy by Bernat Manciet, translated from Occitan by James Thomas (Francis Boutle)
My Mother's Hands by Karmele Jaio, translated from Basque by Kristin Addis (Parthian Books)
The Winterlings by Cristina Sánchez-Andrade, translated from Spanish by Samuel Rutter (Scribe UK)
The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Sila, translated from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar (Dedalus Books)
Ukelele Jam by Alan Mešković, translated from Danish by Paul Russell Garrett. (Seren Books)
The Meteorologist by Olivier Rolin, translated from French by Ros Schwartz (Harvill Secker)