Literary Translation Centre programme announced

The Literary Translation Centre at the London Book Fair is a major project of our Writers in Translation programme. We are delighted to announce another diverse year of debates and discussions on all aspects of the essential and growing industry of literary translation.

(Skip to Tuesday, Wednesday)

Monday 15th April

How to Promote Writers

10:00 – 11:00

This session will discuss the entire “pipeline” of promoting translated writers–from their “discovery” in English to publicizing books before and after they are printed. How active a role can the translator play in this process? Is the process necessarily different depending on the source language?

  • Rosie Goldsmith, Journalist, Freelance Journalist
  • Susan Bernofsky, Chair of The Translation Committee / Teacher of Literary Translation, PEN American Center / Columbia University School of the Arts
  • Katrin Thomaneck, Freelance Translator, Freelance Translator


Migrant, Diaspora and Minority Writing and Translation

11:30 – 12:30

Minority writing” takes many forms across Europe. Both the Armenians and Kurds in Turkey are part of a larger cultural group which has a homeland but also exists in a diaspora. How can the barriers to dialogue and exchange be overcome? Are writers of these two communities translated into other languages, and, importantly, into Turkish? What stands in the way of translating them into major languages likes English? And how do their experiences differ from those of immigrant writers who adopt the languages of their new countries?

Becoming a Literary Translator (1)

13:30 – 14:00

Interested in a career in literary translation? The panel, consisting of prize-winning translator Esther Allen, publisher Meike Ziervogel and translator Anna Holmwood will discuss how to get started in the profession, including the importance of qualifications, networking and understanding the industry as a whole. After brief presentations, the panel will take questions from the audience.

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Focus 2013: Shortlist Spotlight

14:15 – 15:15

Join Elif Shafak and Gabriel Josipovici as they reflect on judging the scores of books in translation submitted for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, which has ‘done more for world fiction in translation than any other literary institution’ (Maureen Freely).

What Publishers Want

15:30 – 16:15

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a publisher’s head…office? We ask leading editors and publishers to divulge their tastes and interests and the kind of literature they are looking out for at the moment. We’ll also get some juicy anecdotes about acquisition of certain titles and discuss unique – and perhaps unusual – working relationships that publishers have experienced with translators.

  • Chair: Bill Swainson , Senior Commissioning Editor, Bloomsbury
  • Jane Lawson, Editorial Director, Transworld
  • Laura Barber, Editorial Director, Portobello Books / Granta Books
  • Chad Post, Publisher of Open Letter Books, The University of Rochester

Translating Bestsellers

16:30 – 17:30

There are many cultural and regional factors that help propel books to bestseller status at home. Translators take on the responsibility of bringing these beloved stories and characters to the broadest possible audience in another language, while solving for political, social, historical, or cultural dissonance in the text and maintaining the author’s intention. In this panel discussion, a selection of English-language translators, publishers, and educators will discuss key challenges presented by bestselling texts and examples of creative solutions that helped lead to similar success in translation.

Tuesday 16th April

The Marketing Toolkit: How translators can make their work matter

10:00 – 11:00

How translators can make their work matter.

  • Ira Silverberg, Literature Director , The National Endowment for the Arts
  • Esther Allen , Promotor of Translation, Freelance Translator
  • Max Porter, Commissioning Editor, Granta Books
  • Chair: Chad Post, Publisher of Open Letter Books, The University of Rochester

Innovations in Literary Translation

11:30 – 12:30

The art of literary translation is ever evolving. The ability to collaborate with authors, editors, and publishers becomes easier as the world grows smaller. This session will examine and discuss tools and methods that translators use to discover opportunities and collaborate with others to improve their skills and produce the best translations for readers all over the world.

  • Chair: Chad Post, Publisher of Open Letter Books, The University of Rochester
  • Jill McCoy, Translations & Communications Manager, The European Society of Authors’ (EUSA / SEUA)
  • Alexandra Büchler, Director, Literature Across Frontiers (LAF)
  • Arshia Sattar, Freelance Translator, Sangam House
  • Sarah Tomashek, Editorial Leader, Amazon Crossing

Wordkeys: The 4D Translation Game

12:30 – 13:30, Literary Translation Centre

The Free Word Centre, English PEN and Coney present an interactive journey through London Book Fair for the curious and adventurous. This is a free game that explores the ways in which translation connects people and cultures from around the world. Take part in a hunt that traverses languages, to uncover the secret links that bind us together!

Becoming a Literary Translator (2)

13:30 – 14:00

There is now a growing focus on literary translation as a profession, rather than as a career that people fall into by chance. This panel discussion will question whether traditional advice for early-career translators is still valid, and will explore the increasing number of schemes and initiatives available to those keen to build their name within the industry.

Brazil – Country of the moment?

14:15 – 15:00

There’s an old joke that “Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be”. It would seem, however, that things have changed. In literary terms, at least, it seems to be Brazil’s moment right now.

Tramlines Application Presentation

15:15 – 15:30, Literary Translation Centre

The Tramlines iPhone application invites readers to explore European cities through short stories written as a result of exchange residencies in locations as diverse as Alexandria, Barcelona, Istanbul and Prague.  With Alexandra Büchler, Director, Literature Across Frontiers (LAF)

Literary Agents and Translation

15:30 – 16:30

What is the role of literary agents in today’s world of international publishing? Are authors from outside the English-speaking territories represented in the rights-selling stakes and by whom?

Translation flows in Asia

16:45 – 17:45

In recent years we’ve seen increasing interest in new and exciting literature coming out of Asia, but much of the focus has been on writing originally in English. During this panel, we will look at what’s happening with literature written in languages other than English. Our speakers will explore the translation flows in Asia – into Asia, between various Asian countries, and out of Asia – discussing trends and key issues, as well as the role of the English language in the process.

  • Chair: Kate Griffin, International Programme Director, The British Centre for Literary Translation / Writers Centre Norwich / The London Review of Books
  • Michael Emmerich, Translator / Teacher, The University of California
  • Anna Holmwood, Agent, The Grayhawk Agency
  • Alvin Pang, Poet, Writer, Editor, Anthologist and Translator, Freelance
  • Deborah Smith, Translator, Freelance Translator

Wednesday 17th April

A Common Language: Literary Translation in the US and the UK

10:00 – 11:00

We talk about these two markets for literary translation as though they were one thing. Certainly literary translators into English do tend to work across the two industries, not only within their own. But there are great differences between the ways these two publishing sectors work, between the ways in which the profession operates in these countries, between the funding and organisational structures that exist there.

  • Chair: Samantha Schnee, Founding Editor & Chairman, Words Without Borders
  • Susan Bernofsky, Chair of The Translation Committee / Teacher of Literary Translation, PEN American Center / Columbia University School of the Arts
  • Kate Griffin, International Programme Director, The British Centre for Literary Translation / Writers Centre Norwich / The London Review of Books
  • Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Translator of Polish Literature
  • Ira Silverberg, Literature Director , The National Endowment for the Arts

PEN Atlas Forum: Translating culture in times of conflict

11:30 – 12:30

An exclusive PEN Atlas dispatch kick-starts this discussion on the way conflict is translated and represented to us on a daily basis in the media – with a particular focus on uprisings in the Arab world.

  • Chair: Sophie Mayer, Writer, Editor and Educator, English PEN & Bishopsgate Insitute
  • Sabrina Mahfouz, Associate Artist, The Bush Theatre, London
  • Samia Mehrez, Professor of Arabic Literature / Director or the Center for Translation Studies, American University of Cairo
  • Robin Yassin-Kassab, Author, The Road From Damascus

Turkish Translation Slam

13:30 – 14:30

Emerging Turkish-to-English translators Izzy Finkel and Feyza Howell will test their linguistic mettle in a light-hearted dual of words. The slam will showcase the art of translation by juxtaposing competing translations of the same piece of contemporary writing from Turkey.

  • Chair: Daniel Hahn, Writer, editor and translator
  • Izzy Finkel, Writer and translator
  • Feyza Howell, Literary Translator, Assessor & Interpreter

Translation off the Page: The Evolving Role of Literary Translators

15:00 – 16:00

Free Word’s Translators in Residence programme is now in its second year. This session will bring the scheme’s four translators together to review the wider impact of the residencies, and discuss opportunities for translators in working on festivals, school workshops and games – and how this plays into the crucial question of making a living.

  • Chair: Ollie Brock, Literary Translator / Editor, openDemocracy
  • Canan Marasligil, Translator in Residence, Free Word Centre
  • Rosalind Harvey, Translator, Freelance Translator
  • Nicky Harman, Literary Translator, Freelance Translator

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