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 was established in 2005 and is supported by Bloomberg and Arts Council England.  We have two main strands to the programme, PEN Promotes, which awards grants to UK publishers to help promote, market and champion titles that have been translated into English and PEN Translates, which awards grants to fund the translation costs of literature into English.

All of our award-winning titles are featured on the World Bookshelf, an online gateway to the very best in contemporary literature in translation.

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: Samantha Schnee (editor, translator)

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

Latest Translation News

PEN Atlas: S J Naudé on Afrikaans writing and translation

PEN Atlas: S J Naudé on Afrikaans writing and translation

January 22nd, 2015

S J Naudé writes about the experience of translating your own novel, the freedoms that this process Read more

PEN Atlas: Amanda Hopkinson on the 43 missing students of Mexico

PEN Atlas: Amanda Hopkinson on the 43 missing students of Mexico

January 19th, 2015

With Mexico as Guest of Honour at London Book Fair 2015, and with 43 students still missing in MexicRead more

PEN Atlas: publishers list their translation highlights for 2015

PEN Atlas: publishers list their translation highlights for 2015

January 15th, 2015

Halt your book purchases: thanks to our publisher friends, PEN Atlas has everything you need, from SRead more