PEN Translates awards go to books from 15 countries

PEN Translates awards go to books from 15 countries

Books from 15 countries have received PEN Translates awards in the latest round of grants for translation, with Ros Schwartz, co-chair of the award panel, saying publishers are becoming "increasingly adventurous" in their choices.

The books receiving translation grants were selected on the basis of "outstanding literary quality, strength of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK". They include the first novel from Mauritania to be translated into English, and novels translated from minority and lesser translated European languages such as Occitan, Galician and Albanian, with an equal number of male and female authors selected.

Their respective publishers, including indies Tilted Axis Press, And Other Stories and Bloodaxe Books and Pushkin Press, as well as PRH imprint Harvill Secker and Hachette imprint Maclehose Press, will now receive grants specifically for bearing the cost of translation. The individual awards vary, depending on the length of the book, with the standard arrangement that PEN funds 75% of translation costs. Publishers with a turnover under £500,000 can apply for 100% of translation costs, however.

Schwartz commented: "We’re delighted to see that publishers are becoming increasingly adventurous in their choices, and that, interestingly, a number of projects are translator-led, underscoring the pro-active role translators can play in bringing books to publishers’ attention."

Theodora Danek, who manages the Writers in Translation programme at English PEN added: "It is really encouraging to see such a wide spread of countries and languages represented in this round of PEN Translates. We think that writers from across the globe deserve to be read by a UK audience, and seeing publishers seek out new voices is fantastic. The awarded books cover so much ground – from Sherko Bekas’ Kurdish poetry to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk’s epic masterpiece – and we can’t wait to see these titles out in the world. Congratulations to all awarded writers, translators, and publishers."

The award-winning books are featured on the English PEN World Bookshelf website, in partnership with Foyles.

The full list of 2017 PEN Translates award winners are as below:

The Yogini by Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha (Tilted Axis Press, October 2019). Country of origin: India

Butterfly Valley by Sherko Bekas, translated from Sorani - Iraqi Kurdish - by Choman Hardi (Arc Publications, March 2018). Country of origin: Iraqi Kurdistan

The Desert and the Drum by Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, translated from French by Rachael McGill (Dedalus, June 2018). Country of origin: Mauritania 

The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti, translated from Italian by Simon Carnelland Erica Segre (Harvill Secker, April 2018). Country of origin: Italy

The Chilli Bean Paste Clan by Yan Ge, translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman (Balestier Press, June 2018). Country of origin: China

Men Don’t Cry by Faïza Guène, translated from French by Sarah Ardizzone (Cassava Republic, September 2018). Country of origin: France

L’ora de partir by Sèrgi Javaloyès, translated from Occitan by James Thomas (Francis Boutle, autumn 2018). Country of origin: France

A Place Upon Your Face by Sema Kaygusuz, translated from Turkish by Nicholas Glastonbury (Tilted Axis Press, November 2018). Country of origin: Turkey

The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero, translated from Spanish by Annie McDermott (And Other Stories, spring 2020). Country of origin: Uruguay

Negative Space by Luljeta Lleshanaku, translated from Albanian by Ani Gjika (Bloodaxe Books, February 2018). Country of origin: Albania

Home is Like a Different Time by Eva Moreda, translated from Galician by Craig Patterson (Francis Boutle, 2018). Country of origin: Spain 

States of Passion by Nihad Sirees, translated from Arabic by Max Weiss (Pushkin Press, August 2018). Country of origin: Syria 

The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2019). Country of origin: Poland

The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated from Spanish by Annie McLean (Maclehose Press, May 2018). Country of origin: Colombia

The Polyglot Lovers by Lina Wolff, translated from Swedish by Saskia Vogel (And Other Stories, February 2019). Country of origin: Sweden

Moving Parts by Prabda Yoon, translated from Thai by Mui Poopoksakul (Tilted Axis Press, October 2018). Country of origin: Thailand