Literature Knows No Frontiers

Translation

The Little Prince, Don Quixote, Metamorphosis, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Holy Bible – all are translations into English with which most readers are familiar. How much would be lost to us if such writing was not so readily accessible to us? Yet so little of the UK’s literary publishing output every year consists of translated literary work. English PEN’s Writers in Translation Programme seeks to redress the balance.

We champion literature beyond national and linguistic borders and beyond conventional literary expectations.  Through our unique Writers in Translation Committee, made up from writers, translators, publishers, literary journalists, scouts and agents, we identify great writing in English translation and support both translators and publishers to get great writing in front of as many readers as possible in the Anglophone world.

English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme, supported by Bloomberg, was established in 2005.  We now think of this activity as PEN promotes! Through this programme we award grants to UK publishers to help promote, market and champion titles that have been translated into English. If you are interested in finding out more about this programme, or would like to consider applying, then please visit the PEN Promotes! page.

In 2012 English PEN launches a new programme, PEN Translates!  Funded by Arts Council England, this scheme awards grants to fund the translation costs of literature into English. If you are interested in finding out more about this programme, or would like to consider applying, then please visit the PEN Translates! page.

In addition to our grant-giving programmes, we run campaigns, advocacy programmes and events to encourage literature in translation.  Every September we mark International Translation Day with an annual conference.  In 2011 we published our Global Translation Initiative report with Free Word and Dalkey Archive Press

“There are not words enough in my countless dictionaries to express my admiration for PEN’s Writers in Translation programme. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have several projects supported by the programme and know the vital role WiT plays supporting publishers, facilitating visits and organising events by foreign authors and tirelessly promoting the visibility of translators and world literature”. 

Frank Wynne, Award Winning Literary Translator

The Writers in Translation Committee 

 Chair: Ros Schwartz (translator)

 Vice Chair:Kerry Glencorse (literary agent)

Raficq Abdulla (poet), Rose Cole (Bookseller), Ben Faccini (writer), Miranda France (writer, translator), Catheryn Kilgarriff (publisher), Max Porter (commissioning editor), Michele Roberts (writer), Fathieh Saudi (poet), Samantha Schnee (editor), Rebecca Servadio (literary scout), Rachel Van Riel (reader development), Shaun Whiteside (translator)

Latest Translation News

PEN Atlas: Santiago Gamboa on the death of Gabriel García Márquez

PEN Atlas: Santiago Gamboa on the death of Gabriel García Márquez

April 22nd, 2014

Santiago Gamboa writes a special PEN Atlas dispatch this week to commemorate Gabriel García Márquez,Read more

‘Tragic, harrowing, redeemed-by-love’ – a word from the translator with Gregor Benton

'Tragic, harrowing, redeemed-by-love' - a word from the translator with Gregor Benton

April 22nd, 2014

English PEN talks to the translators of some of our award-winning books. Next in the series is GregoRead more

PEN Atlas: poet Liubov Iakymchuk on the tensions in Ukraine

PEN Atlas: poet Liubov Iakymchuk on the tensions in Ukraine

April 17th, 2014

With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, poet and dramatist Liubov Iakymchuk writes for PEN Atlas in anRead more