–Seven titles representing seven languages and seven regions have been selected for the second issue of PEN Presents, the English PEN award for sample translations.
–The samples, selected by an international panel of writers, agents, editors and critics, will be showcased to publishers of literature in translation.
–PEN Presents aims to fund literary translators’ work of creating samples, give publishers better access to titles from underrepresented languages and regions, and help diversify the translated literature landscape.
The translators are:
- Madeleine Arenivar for a translation from the Spanish of Yuliana Ortiz Ruano’s Carnival Fever (Ecuador).
- Maren Baudet-Lackner for a translation from the French of Osvalde Lewat’s The Aquatics (Cameroon).
- Ibrahim Fawzy for a translation from the Arabic of Khaled Nasrallah’s The White Line of Night (Kuwait).
- Jack Hargreaves for a translation from the Taiwanese Mandarin of Chiang-sheng Kuo’s A Time No More (Taiwan).
- Jacqueline Leung for a translation from the Chinese of Hon Lai-chu’s Mending Bodies (Hong Kong).
- Kayvan Tahmasebian and Rebecca Ruth Gould for a translation from the Persian of Hormoz Shahdadi’s Night of Terror (Iran).
- Norman Erikson Pasaribu for a translation from the Indonesian of Ziggy Zezsyazeoviennazabrizkie’s Take Care, Noisy Lane (Indonesia), edited by Tiffany Tsao.
The seven winners were chosen from a shortlist of 13 projects, whose translators were awarded grants to create samples of their proposed works. The samples have received editorial support from English PEN, and are available to read on the PEN Presents platform, an online catalogue of outstanding, original, and bibliodiverse literature not yet published in English translation.
Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager at English PEN, said:
We have selected seven projects as winners of this round of PEN Presents, where we were supposed to select six. That isn’t for want of decisiveness; it’s a testament to the extraordinary quality, range, and volume of outstanding literature yet to be – and that must be – translated into English. These seven samples, created by exceptionally talented authors and translators, each represent 5,000 words of what we know will soon be books acquired by presses, published across the Anglophone world, and in the hands of English-language readers.
Preti Taneja, Co-chair of English PEN’s Translation Advisory Group, said:
The panel and I are delighted with the depth and breadth of the selections, and we were gripped and inspired by the quality of each project. We are sure these books are going to have a lasting impact on readers and offer our congratulations to all the winners of PEN Presents.
This round of PEN Presents was open to proposals for translations of works in any language and from any geography, of any era, form, genre, and style. The round is in partnership with Translating Women and supported by an Open Innovation Platform grant from the University of Exeter and the Arts and Humanities Research Council project Changing the Landscape: Diversity and Translated Fiction in the UK Publishing Industry.
Madeleine Arenivar is a translator and editor specializing in academic and, more recently, literary prose from Spanish. Her literary translations have been published or are forthcoming in Another Chicago Magazine, Latin American Literature Today, Los Angeles Review, and Best Literary Translations Anthology (Deep Vellum, 2024). Madeleine has degrees from Vassar College and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) Ecuador. She received a Katharine Bakeless Nason scholarship for emerging writers to attend Bread Loaf Translator’s Conference in 2022. She lives in Quito, Ecuador.
Maren Baudet-Lackner is an American literary translator from the French who has published a dozen titles with major imprints in the United Kingdom and United States. She is passionate about bringing exceptional works of literature by traditionally underrepresented authors to English-speaking readers. Maren holds advanced degrees from Yale University and the Sorbonne and lives near Paris with her family.
Ibrahim Fawzy is an Egyptian writer and translator. He works in Arabic and English. He’s passionate about bringing narratives from Africa and the Middle East to wider audiences. He’s a two-time graduate of the British Center for Literary Translation (BCLT). In 2023, he finished a six -month- mentorship with the National Centre for Writing (NCW) as a part of their Emerging Literary Translators Program, where he was mentored by Sawad Hussein. He was a recipient of Culture Resource’s Wijhat grant. His translation of Rema Hmoud’s “Glass” has been shortlisted for Deep Vellum’s The Best Literary Translations 2024 Anthology. His translations, reviews and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in ArabLit Quarterly, Words Without Borders, Consequence, Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Poetry Ireland Review, Exchanges, The Markaz Review, among others. He’s an editorial assistant at Rowayat and podcasts at New Book Network (NBN). He volunteered at ALTA’s 44th annual conference and participated in several readings, including PEN Women in Translation series. He also lectures at Fayoum University, Egypt.
Jack Hargreaves is a London-based translator from East Yorkshire. His literary work has appeared on Asymptote Journal, The Southern Review, Words Without Borders, LitHub, adda, Arts of the Working Class, Samovar and LA Review of Books China Channel. Published and forthcoming full-length works include Winter Pasture by Li Juan and Seeing by Chai Jing, both of them co-translations with Yan Yan (Astra House); Shen Dacheng’s short story ‘Novelist in the Attic’ and Wen Zhen’s ‘Date at the Art Gallery’ for Comma Press’ The Book of Shanghai and The Book of Beijing, respectively; Reconstructing the Image of Nanyang by Chia Joo Ming (Ethos Books, 2025); and A Submarine in the Night by Chen Chuncheng (Honford Star/Riverhead Books, 2025). He was ALTA’s 2021 Emerging Translator Mentee for Literature from Singapore, and volunteers as a member of the Paper Republic management team. He is currently on a three-year virtual residency for young artists in Nanjing, in association with the city’s UNESCO City of Literature program.
Jacqueline Leung is a writer, editor, and translator from Hong Kong. Her work has appeared in Nashville Review, SAND Journal, Gulf Coast, Asymptote, Cha, and the Asian Review of Books, among others. She is an English editor at M+ Museum, assistant editor at The Offing, and was a manager of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. She holds an MA in English from University College London and a BA from the University of Hong Kong.
Kayvan Tahmasebian translates poetry from English and French into Persian, and from Persian into English. He is the author of Lecture on Fear and Other Poems (Radical Paper Press, 2019). With Rebecca Ruth Gould, he co-translated House Arrest: Poems of Hasan Alizadeh (Arc Publications, 2022), which was awarded a PEN Translates award, and High Tide of the Eyes: Poems by Bijan Elahi (Operating System, 2019). He is the author of Isfahan’s Mold (Goman Publishers, 2016).
Rebecca Ruth Gould is a writer, scholar, and translator. Her books include Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom (Verso, 2023), The Persian Prison Poem: Sovereignty and the Political Imagination (Edinburgh University Press, 2021), and Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus(Yale University Press, 2016). She is the editor, with Kayvan Tahmasebian, of The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism (2020) and the co-translator. also with Kayvan Tahmasebian, of the Iranian poets Bijan Elahi and Hasan Alizadeh. Her co-translation with Kayvan Tahmasebian of Sa’eb Tabrizi was recently selected by Jane Hirschfield for the Best Literary Translation Anthology 2024, to be published by Deep Vellum in 2024.
Norman Erikson Pasaribu is a Toba Batak poet and translator. Their book Happy Stories, Mostly (tr. Tiffany Tsao) won the Republic of Consciousness for Small Presses in 2023. Their translation work has appeared in Cordite Poetry Review, AAWW’s The Margins, and Asymptote Blog. They are the Harvard Asia Center’s Artist in Residence for 2023/2024.