English PEN’s flagship grant programme PEN Translates awards 13 titles from 12 countries and 9 languages, including:
– The first novel by a Comorian woman to be translated into English.
– The first time English PEN has awarded titles translated from Eastern Armenian and Kazakh
– The first time English PEN has awarded titles from Rwanda and Kazakhstan
Books from 12 countries and 9 languages have won English PEN’s flagship translation awards. The awards include novels, short story collections, YA and experimental autofiction, and – for the first time – titles from Rwanda and Kazakhstan, and books translated from Eastern Armenian and Kazakh. Among the awarded titles is the first novel by a Comorian woman to be translated into English.
PEN Translates has now supported over 350 books translated from over 90 languages, awarding over £1.1m 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. 17 other PEN Translates books have appeared on International Booker Prize longlists, with two shortlisted for the 2023 Prize.
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:
These thirteen books are significant works of literature – individually, in their quality; and collectively, in how they help shift the UK literary landscape. We have major figures – International Booker-winning authors and translators – sitting alongside exciting debut voices, with stunningly experimental work. The range of language and region represented is remarkable, but so too is the range of form, readership, theme and style. We’re thrilled to support these books, and excited for English-language readers to be able to buy them and enjoy them.
So Mayer, Co-chair of the English PEN Translation Advisory Group, said:
These books truly have ‘the fire within’, to borrow from Touhfat Mouhtare and Rachael McGill’s title. They offer intimate, piercing connections to characters and locales, from the artistic whirl of interwar Paris to resonant visions of colonial and postcolonial Mauritania, Eritrea, Rwanda, Argentina and Kazakhstan. There is particular attention to rural communities that have been neglected for too long in literary culture, and several works that confront the challenges faced by writers – from government censorship to systemic racism. It’s an honour to be able to assist readers on the lookout for an unexpected encounter with – to quote the title of Shushan Avagyan and Deanna Cachoian-Schanz’s work – ‘a book, untitled’.
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:
A Book, Untitled by Shushan Avagyan (Armenia), translated from the Eastern Armenian by Deanna Cachoian-Schanz. (Tilted Axis Press.)
Saara by Mbarek Beyrouk (Mauritania), translated from the French by Rachael McGill. (Dedalus Africa.)
Abandonment by Erminia Dell’Oro (Italy), translated from the Italian by Oonagh Stransky. (Héloïse Press.)
The Plains by Federico Falco (Argentina), translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft. (Charco Press.)
Happiness by Yuri Felsen (Russia), translated from the Russian by Bryan Karetnyk. (Prototype.)
A Dictator Calls by Ismail Kadare (Albania), translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson. (Harvill Secker.)
The Machine for Thinking about Gladys by Mario Levrero (Uruguay), translated from the Spanish by Annie McDermott and Kit Schluter. (And Other Stories.)
Verdigris by Michele Mari (Italy), translated from the Italian by Brian Robert Moore. (And Other Stories.)
The Fire Within by Touhfat Mouhtare (Comoros), translated from the French by Rachael McGill. (Dedalus Africa.)
Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga (Rwanda), translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti. (Daunt Books Publishing.)
The Buttonless Red Shirt by Tie Ning (China), translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan. (Sinoist Book.)
To Hell With Poets by Baqytgul Sarmekova (Kazakhstan), translated from the Kazakh by Mirgul Kali. (Tilted Axis Press.)
The Dark Side of the Skin by Jeferson Tenório (Brazil), translated from the Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato. (Charco Press.)