The PEN Promotes programme, which ran from 2005 to 2016, gave a total of 96 promotion grants to 28 different UK publishers, most of which were small independents.¬† It was funded by Bloomberg.¬† Award-winning titles include The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim (translated by¬†Jonathan Wright), The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck¬†(translated by Susan Bernofsky) and The Armies by Evelio Rosero¬†(translated by Anne McLean) ‚Äì all of which won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
Since 2012, the Arts Council England-funded programme PEN Translates has supported publishers’¬†translation costs.
Key findings include:
- PEN Promotes titles outperformed other translated titles from the same publisher
- PEN-supported translations perform just as well as English language titles
- A majority of publishers surveyed believe the market for translated titles has grown since 2005
- Four in every five publishers already involve the translator in the marketing of a book, a practice that English PEN has encouraged
The report, which was researched and written by Erica Jarnes (English PEN‚Äôs Writers in Translation Programme Manager until October 2016) concludes with a recommendation that PEN Promotes evolves into a more flexible grant that will empower publishers to take more risks in promoting their translated titles.
Commenting on the report, English PEN‚Äôs director Jo Glanville said:
We are proud of the crucial role that this programme has played over the last decade, introducing outstanding writers to UK¬†readers and demonstrating that translated literature can be just as popular as¬†English language books. We are immensely grateful to Bloomberg for its support for the programme since 2005.¬† This rigorous evaluation of PEN Promotes sets a clear strategy for the future: our challenge now is to identify a funder who can offer long-term support for a new grant-giving programme based on the report‚Äôs recommendations.