On 4 June 2015, eight literary translators from across Europe came together for European Literature Night VII: The Translation Pitch, a translation showdown like no other. The challenge? To pitch a book as yet unpublished in English to a panel of publishing professionals: Max Porter (senior editor, Granta Books), Kerry Glencorse (literary agent, Susanna Lea Associates) and Stefan Tobler (publisher, And Other Stories). The prize? A PEN Samples grant, worth £250.
Hosted by Chris Gribble, director of Writers’ Centre Norwich, the translators took the audience and jury on a literary journey across Europe. Snapshots of life and literature on the continent included a Dutch filmmaker in provincial Spain post-economic downturn, a yuppie’s attempts at off-the-grid living in Belgium, a pair of murderous Danish school boys revealing their inner psyches and a failing writer narrating his own decline in post-Communist Bulgaria.
Here, listen to audio from the event.
Owen Good, pitching Krisztina Tóth’s Pixel (Hungary)
Anne Posten, pitching Verena Rossbacher’s Small Talk and Slaughter (Germany)
Lindy Falk van Rooyen, pitching Jesper Wung-Sung’s Proper Fractions (Denmark)
Anna Asbury, pitching Jan van Loy’s Scraps (Flanders)
Angela Rodel, pitching Vladimir Zarev’s Ruin (Bulgaria)
Laura Vroomen, pitching Vonne van der Meer’s Take 7 (Netherlands)
Andrea Reece, pitching Pierre Autin-Grenier’s That’s Just How It Is (France)
Melvyn Clarke, pitching Jan Němec’s A History of Light (Czech Republic)
The winner – Angela Rodel
Vladimir Zarev’s Ruin – read Angela’s award-winning pitch here.
Read a Q&A with Angela Rodel, whose enthusiastic pitch for Vladimir Zarev’s Ruin earned her the top spot.
About PEN Samples
PEN Samples is an initiative which supports professional development for translators and the translation of under-represented languages into English. Translators are offered small grants to produce sample translations and reports on books in other languages that have not yet been acquired by an English-language publisher.
The ELN Translation Pitch was organised by the Czech Centre London in partnership with English PEN, Free Word, the Translators Association and the Emerging Translators Network and supported by the Ballassi Institute, Hungarian Cultural Centre, Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Czech Centre, Embassy of Denmark, Danish Arts Foundation, Flanders House, Institut francais, Goethe Institute, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands.