NCW and Tilted Axis launch mentorship for BAME translators

NCW and Tilted Axis launch mentorship for BAME translators

The National Centre for Writing (NCW) and Tilted Axis Press have launched the new Tilted Axis Mentorship for a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic literary translator based in the UK. 

The partnership, which will see translators get access to support from established translators such as Daniel Hahn, Deborah Smith and Antonia Lloyd-Jones, was formed in the interests of encouraging increased diversity among literary translators and greater diversity in translated work. Remarking that "much of the same thinking that strangles diversity in UK publishing is hindering the growth of literature in translation too", Chris Gribble, chief executive of NCW, said helping the translation industry be more inclusive would not only benefit of the translators selected for the programme but UK readers and the publishing industry at large also.

Under the scheme, early stage literary translators will be offered six months of mentoring with an experienced translator. They will also receive insights into the industry, a cash bursary and access to the Literary Translation Centre at London Book Fair 2019.

The Tilted Axis Mentorship is part of the 2018 Emerging Literary Translators Mentorship Programme, run by the National Centre for Writing, covering eight languages, including Indonesian and Lithuanian. Through its Young Translators Prize, Harvill Secker is supporting a mentorship for a translator working from Bengali to English. Meanwhile NCW and the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) - both based in Norwich - have also announced a three-year programme of activity with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea). This will include a Korean mentorship, professional development workshops and translator in residence opportunities in NCW’s cottage, part of the new campus at Dragon Hall.

Gribble commented: "We’ve rarely needed more diversity and global reach in our literature than we do today and that is why we are putting literary translation at the heart of our programming at NCW. Much of the same thinking that strangles diversity in UK publishing is hindering the growth of literature in translation too. Readers are not scared of unfamiliar names or settings, some in the business just fear that they are. Similarly, helping the translation industry to be more inclusive and accessible also benefits the publishing industry and UK readers as well as the individual translators chosen for the mentorship. The mentees on this scheme will get support from some of the most established translators in the industry, all committed to opening up this vital profession to new voices."

Tilted Axis Press founder Deborah Smith, also the Man Booker International Prize-winning English translator of former Norwich writer-in-residence Han Kang, said: "Tilted Axis has always been committed to opening up access in publishing, and already publishes many BAME translators. We're proud to put our money where our mouth is, alongside the generous contribution from NCW, and fund a mentorship that will benefit us all. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support I’ve received from NCW. No other literary organisation has the same global reach, especially across Asia or is as generous in sharing its connections."