English PEN’s flagship grant programme PEN Translates awards 15 titles from 14 countries and 10 languages, including:
- The first memoir by a Sudanese woman to be translated from Arabic to English.
- The first time English PEN has awarded a title from Mali.
Books from 14 countries and 10 languages have won English PEN’s flagship translation awards. The 15 awards go to titles by 14 different publishers. They include novels, short story collections, crime, poetry, an illustrated memoir, a graphic novel and – for the first time – a title from Mali. Among the awarded titles is the first memoir by a Sudanese woman to be translated from Arabic to English.
PEN Translates has now supported over 300 books translated from over 90 languages, awarding over £1m in grants. Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated from the Hindi by Daisy Rockwell, a PEN Translates-supported title, won the 2022 International Booker Prize. 15 other PEN Translates books have appeared on International Booker Prize longlists. PEN Translates is supported by Arts Council England.
Last year, 11 writers and translators who have received PEN Translates awards – Geetanjali Shree, Daisy Rockwell, Juan Pablo Villalobos, Rosalind Harvey, Anton Hur, Paulo Scott, Daniel Hahn, Maya Abu Al-Hayat, Yasmine Seale, Krisztina Tóth and Peter Sherwood – contributed to All Walls Collapse: Stories of Separation, a collection of new short fiction in translation from English PEN and Comma Press, marking 10 years of the PEN Translates programme.
Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager at English PEN, said:
The ambition, originality, and variety of works submitted to this round of PEN Translates both warmed the heart and made reaching a final portfolio near-impossible; that ambition, originality, and variety is reflected in the 15 significant works of literature our panel have ultimately selected. We have a graphic novel from Lebanon, a pioneering work of memoir from Sudan, a series of courageous dissident works written in exile, Hong Kong poetry, crime fiction from Mali and more, on their way into English-language readers’ hands. We’re delighted to have been able to support these projects, from publishers who are continuing to publish bravely despite our current economic climate.
So Mayer, Co-chair of the English PEN Translation Advisory Group, said:
This PEN Translates round is a brilliant reflection of the breadth of UK publishing in translation, showcasing a graphic novel memoir from Lebanon, cosy crime fiction from Mali, feminist activism from Sudan, animal and workers’ rights fiction from Spain and Brazil, and feminist cli-fi from Uruguay. Awarding 15 titles across ten languages, it particularly highlights the work of small publishers investing in books in still-underrepresented languages such as Thai, Hungarian and Belarusian. Alongside the award for a book written in a Belarusian prison, there are awards for poetry by Yang Liang that could not be published in China, and for bold novels dealing with themes of gender and sexuality by two acclaimed Russian authors, as PEN continues its charter commitment to writers facing censorship worldwide.
Books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, the strength of the publishing project, and their contribution to UK bibliodiversity.
PEN Translates award winners:
Home by Andrea Tompa, translated from the Hungarian by Jozefina Komporaly (Istros Books). Country of origin: Hungary.
Cade la Terra by Carmen Pellegrino, translated from the Italian by Shaun Whiteside (Prototype Publishing). Country of origin: Italy.
Living Things by Munir Hachemi, translated from the Spanish by Julia Sanches (Fitzcarraldo Editions). Country of origin: Spain.
Venom by Saneh Sangsuk, translated from the Thai by Mui Poopoksakul (Peirene Press). Country of origin: Thailand.
The Gospel According To by Sergey Khazov-Cassia, translated from the Russian by Reuben Woolley (Polari Press). Country of origin: Russia.
Of Cattle and Men by Ana Paula Maia, translated from the Portuguese by Zoe Perry (Charco Press). Country of origin: Brazil.
Yoghurt and Jam (or how my mother became Lebanese) by Lena Merhej, translated from the Arabic by Nadiyah Abdullatif and Anam Zafar (Balestier Press). Country of origin: Lebanon.
Woman of the Rivers by Ishraga Mustafa, translated from the Arabic by Sawad Hussain (Dar Arab). Country of origin: Sudan.
Headless in Kita by Moussa Konaté, translated from the French by Susan Pickford (Dedalus Africa). Country of origin: Mali.
The Art of Memory by Mercedes Núñez Targa, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Faye Williams (Pluto Press). Country of origin: Spain.
A Tower Built Downwards by Yang Lian, translated from the Chinese by Brian Holton (Bloodaxe Books Ltd). Country of origin: China.
Pink Slime by Fernanda Trías, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary (Scribe UK). Country of origin: Uruguay.
The Incredible Events in Women’s Cell Number Three by Kira Yarmysh, translated from the Russian by Archibald Tait (Serpent’s Tail, an imprint of Profile Books Ltd). Country of origin: Russia.
My Port of Beirut by Lamia Ziadé, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan (Pluto Press). Country of origin: France.
Zekameron by Maxim Znak, translated from the Russian/Belarusian by Jim Dingley (Scotland Street Press). Country of origin: Belarus.