International Translation Day (ITD) celebrates translation, translators and translated literature every 30 September. English PEN and the National Centre for Writing are collaborating to highlight and promote events and activities taking place across the UK in celebration of ITD 2023.
View the programme of events from organisations, publishers, academic institutions, festivals and other organisers here. All events and initiatives are planned, coordinated and delivered by the organiser listed, and further details on each initiative is available on the organiser's website.
Out of the Wings
Play in Translation Table-Read
29 September, 3pm BST
Following our seventh annual festival of plays in translation at London's Omnibus theatre, join the Out of the Wings collective as we gather again to read and explore a brand-new English translation of a play from Ibero-America. We are delighted this month to be joined by renowned translator Nick Caistor to read his new English translation of 'Mata'm/Mátame' (Shoot Me) by the Catalan playwright Manel Dueso.
At this free, friendly and informal gathering we will introduce, cast, read aloud and discuss this new translation, as part of our year-round activities platforming international theatre across languages. No knowledge of Catalan or Spanish, or acting or translation experience necessary. Speakers of all languages welcome. A hybrid event, so join us from anywhere in the world! We look forward to meeting you.
National Centre for Writing
Meet the World: Translating Arab Graphic Novels
29 September, 9pm BST
In this Meet the World event, four translators of recently published graphic novels from the Arab world to discuss the translation process as well as identity, language and representation.
In this wide-ranging discussion, Amy Chiniara (Inside the Giant Fish by Rawand Issa), Deena Mohamed (Your Wish is My Command), Emma Ramadan (My Port of Beirut by Lamia Ziadé) and Nadiyah Abdullatif (Yoghurt and Jam (or how my mother became Lebanese) by Lena Merhej, co-translation with Anam Zafar) explore the similarities and differences in their experiences of routes into translation, collaborating with authors, getting work published, working with illustrations, and handling different source languages and multilingualism.
Journeys In Translation
30 September, 3pm BST
Journeys in Translation invites you to this international gathering of poets, translators and groups supporting people seeking refuge.
The event takes place online as part of International Translation Day 2023 and will feature readings and conversation around poems from Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for people seeking refuge (Five Leaves Publications, 2015) which will be read in English and in translation.
Organised by CivicLeicester and the Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies (LeCTIS) at the University of Leicester, the online event will appeal to people interested in poetry, forced migration and translation as well as those who are following Journeys in Translation and the ongoing effort to translate poems from Over Land, Over Sea into other languages.
Those speaking at the event include: Journeys in Translation coordinator, Ambrose Musiyiwa, who will give an overview of the initiative; Monica Manolachi, who coordinated translations into Romanian leading to the publication of Peste mări și țări: Poezii pentru cine caută adăpost (CivicLeicester, 2022); and Pietro Deandrea, who translated Over Land, Over Sea into Italian to give us Per terra e per mare: Poesie per chi è in cerca di rifugio (CivicLeicester, 2020).
There will also be contributions from people who are currently translating the anthology into other languages, among them, Anna Blasiak (Polish), Christophe Gagne (French), Tavengwa Kaponda (Shona) and Sahar Othmani (Arabic).
Featured poets who will read their work and respond to the translations include: Kerry Featherstone who contributed “What We Know” (Over Land, Over Sea, p.4); Martin Johns who contributed "Consignment" (p.9); Ziba Karbassi who contributed "Diwan Under Snow" (p.22); Laila Sumpton who contributed “Landing on Lampedusa” (p.40) and “Please look after this bear” (p.101); and, Barbara Saunders who contributed "A Memorable Journey" (p.35).
The readings and discussion will be followed by a Q&A session.
The event will be chaired by Dr Yan Ying, a Lecturer in Translation Studies at LeCTIS, University of Leicester.
Topping & Company Booksellers Edinburgh
Marie Darrieussecq at Topping & Co Edinburgh
3 October, 7.30pm BST
We will be welcoming in the Bookshop one of the leading voices of contemporary French literature, Marie Darrieussecq. We'll celebrate the publication of Sleepless, a graceful, inventive meditation on insomnia, ranging between autobiography, clinical observation and criticism.
Our event lasts an hour in the Fiction room of our Bookshop. Marie will be in conversation with our Head of Fiction for 45 minutes, before the floor will be opened to audience questions for the last quarter of the hour.
Society of Authors (SoA)
SoA @ Home Festival Industry Insider – Poetry in Translation
5 October, 10am BST
Chaired by the director of the Poetry Translation Centre, Erica Hesketh, we will be hearing from three panelists about their experiences of translating of poetry. Panelists will discuss the unique practice of translating this expressive and distinctive form of writing and new developments and challenges in the publishing industry today.
The event is open to anyone interested in translating poetry. The session will take place online and will include BSL interpretation. Registration will be open soon on the SoA website.
This event is co-organised by the SoA's Poetry and Spoken Word Group and the Translators Association.
Sleepless – Marie Darrieussecq in conversation, at Libreria
5 October, 7pm BST
Join author Marie Darrieussecq in conversation about her new book, Sleepless, which was translated by Penny Hueston and published August 2023.
Plagued by insomnia for twenty years, Marie Darrieussecq turns her attention to the causes, implications and consequences of sleeplessness: a nocturnal suffering that culminates at 4 a.m. and then defines the next day. In Sleepless, she recounts her own experiences alongside those of fellow insomniacs, mostly fellow writers like Ovid, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Marguerite Duras, Franz Kafka, Georges Perec.
Ranging between autobiography, clinical observation and criticism, Sleepless is a graceful, inventive meditation by one of the most daring, inventive novelists writing today.
Litfest (Lancaster Literature Festival)
Litfest International Fiction Book Club
9 October, 6.30pm BST
The online Litfest International Fiction Book Club was launched in response to the Covid pandemic in April 2020. Since then, the club has discussed some 35 books, with the writer, translator or editor. Our guests have included authors Delphine de Vigan, Andrey Kurkov and Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and translators Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Olga Tokarczuk), Sasha Dugdale (Maria Stepanova), Frank Wynne (Alice Zeniter) and Jeremy Tiang (Zhang Yueran).
For this special edition of the book club we are delighted to welcome the acclaimed translator Angela Rodel, who shared this year’s International Booker with the Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov, to discuss his masterpiece Time Shelter and the challenges it presented (published in paperback and eBook by W&N).
‘A wide-ranging, thought-provoking, macabre and humorous novel about nationality, identity and ageing, and about the healing and destructive power of memory’
The panel of judges for the 2023 International Booker Chair
Litfest (Lancaster Literature Festival)
Lancaster International Fiction Lecture
10 October, 7.30pm BST
Litfest is delighted to announce that the third Lancaster International Fiction Lecture, a joint venture with the Department of Languages & Cultures and the Department of English Literature & Creative Writing at Lancaster University, will be given by Georgi Gospodinov whose novel written in Bulgarian and translated into English by Angela Rodel won this year’s International Booker Prize.
The lecture focuses on fiction as an international artform shared by almost all languages and cultures throughout the world.
In an interview for the International Booker Prize Gospodinov said: ‘My urge to write this book came from the sense that something had gone awry in the clockworks of time. You could catch the scent of anxiety hanging in the air, you could touch it with your finger. After 2016 we seemed to be living in another world and another time… I come from a system that sold a “bright future” under communism. Now the stakes have shifted, and populists are selling a “bright past”. I know via my own skin that both cheques bounce, they are backed by nothing.’
Sinoist Author Roadshow 2023
This October join us in for a UK-spanning roadshow featuring two of China’s premier literary authors. Immerse yourself in the art of storytelling with the eminent Chinese authors Liang Hong and Liu Zhenyun. Explore how their books arrived in English translation through a variety of exclusive events.
(10 October) Manchester – The Manchester China Institute
(11 October) Leeds – The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing
(12 October) Newcastle – The Confucius Institute at Newcastle University
(13 October) Edinburgh – The Confucius Institute for Scotland
(16 October) SOAS – SOAS (NOT PUBLIC FACING)
(17 October) Oxford – Oxford International Centre for Publishing / Oxford Brookes Confucius Institute
(18 October) London – China Exchange
Out Of Sri Lanka at Winchester Poetry Festival (online)
12 October, 6.30pm BST
To celebrate the new Bloodaxe anthology of Sri Lankan and diasporic poetry, Out of Sri Lanka – a PBS Special Commendation – Winchester Poetry Festival welcomes all three editors and two of the poets to this panel. Join them to share, celebrate and discuss this rich and vital literature, and the importance of memory – from the preservation of folk practises to the poetry of witness. With Vidyan Ravinthiran, Shash Trevett, Seni Seneviratne, S. Niroshini and Samodh Porawagamage.
Lutz Seiler in conversation with Thomas Meaney
12 October, 7pm BST
Award-winning German author Lutz Seiler grew up in Communist East Germany and started publishing poetry after the Berlin Wall fell. This year sees the first English publication of his 'Wenderoman' novel Star 111, his 'epoch-making' poetry collection Pitch & Glint, and a rich, evocative collection of essays, In Case of Loss. To celebrate the publication of these three complementary works, join Seiler in conversation with Granta Magazine editor Thomas Meaney, and their translators, Tess Lewis, Stefan Tobler and Martyn Crucefix, to explore bringing Seiler’s unmistakable craft and sound to an English-speaking readership.
Seni Seneviratne & Shash Trevett: Out of Sri Lanka at Ilkley Literature Festival
14 October, 1.45pm BST
Seni Seneviratne, Shash Trevett and Vidyan Ravinthiran’s Out of Sri Lanka is the first ever anthology of Sri Lankan and diasporic poetry, shedding light on a long-neglected national literature and exploring topics about migration, atrocities, war, religion, love, art and nature. Seneviratne is of Sri Lankan heritage but was born and raised in Leeds. Her work has been Highly Commended in the Forward Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the Arvon International Poetry Competition. She was ILF Poet-in-Residence in 2012. Trevett is a Tamil from Sri Lanka who came to the UK to escape the civil war. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Poetry London and The North and she is the recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award. She was a 2019 Apprentice Poet-in-Residence.
Aurora Metro Books
Forgotten women writers
In our newly published anthology Virginia's Sisters we bring over a dozen forgotten women writers of the interwar years to a new audience of English readers, many for the first time.
This event aims to amplify the voices of marginalised women writers of the past and show how translation within an anthology can shine a light on important writers and poets, who have not been given the attention they deserve in literary history both within their own countries and abroad.