Record number of women authors and translators win PEN Translates awards

English PEN today announces  its  latest list of  PEN Translates award winners.  The list includes books translated from 14 languages and 16 countries, including a Uyghur memoir, Palestinian short stories, Somali poetry, a Czech feminist novel, an anthology of Russian women literature, Belarusian essays and a Chinese graphic novel/memoir.

English PEN is encouraged to note that in this round of grants, women authors and translators make up more than half of the award winners.

Books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, strength and innovation of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK. Awards are made to publishers to cover the English language translation costs.  Every book receiving an English PEN award is featured on the English PEN World Bookshelf website, in partnership with Foyles bookshop.

Lulu Norman, a trustee of English PEN and Chair of the Writers in Translation Committee, said:

We are proud and delighted to support these 18 titles, selected from a record-breaking number of submissions. The books range from classic to groundbreaking and often promise to be both. Entirely new and distinct voices – from Somalia, Syria, Mexico and Korea – can also be heard. It was clear from the many variations on essay, memoir, report or chronicle that the borderlands between fiction and non-fiction have never been so well-explored, genres never so porous. For once the number of original women writers drew level with the number of men. It is wonderful to witness this level of creativity and diversity in today’s translated literature.  

The 2017  PEN  Translates award winners

  • The Lime Tree by César Aira, translated from Spanish by Chris Andrews. Published by And Other Stories. November 2017
  • Blood Barrios: Dispatches from the World’s Deadliest Streets by Alberto Arce, translated from Spanish by Daniela Ugaz and John Washington. Published by ZED Books. February 2018
  • The Impostor by Javier Cercas, translated from Spanish by Frank Wynne. Published by Maclehose Press. November 2017
  • Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from German by Susan Bernofsky. Published by Granta Publications.  September 2017
  • Three Plastic Rooms by Petra Hůlová, translated from Czech by Alex Zucker. Published by Jantar Publishing Limited. November 2017
  • The Land Drenched in Tears by Söyüngül Chanisheff, translated from Uyghur by Rahima Mahmut. Published by Hertfordshire Press. November 2017
  • Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf, translated from Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem. Published by And Other Stories. April 2018
  • The Underground Village by Kang Kyeong-ae, translated from Korean by Anton Hur. Published by Honford Star. April 2018
  • Translation as Transhumance by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz. Published by Les Fugitives. November 2017
  • Narrative Poem by Yang Lian, translated from Chinese by Brian Holton. Published by Bloodaxe Books. June 2017
  • Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China by Rao Pingru, translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman. Published by Square Peg. February 2018
  • The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout, translated from Arabic by Perween Richards. Published by Comma Press. March 2018
  • A large Czesław Milosz with a dash of Elvis Presley by Tania Skarynkina, translated from Belarusian by Jim Dingley. Published by Scotland Street Press. February 2018
  • Freedom Hospital: A Syrian Story by Hamid Sulaiman, translated from French by Francesca Barrie. Published by Jonathan Cape. October 2017
  • Slav Sisters: The Dedalus Book of Russian Women Literature by Natasha Perova (ed.), translated from Russian by Robert Chandler, Ilona Chavasse, John Dewey, Boris Dralyuk, Andrew Bromfield English, Jamey Gambrell, Marian Schwartz, Arch Tait, Joanne Turnbull. Published by Dedalus Limited. January 2018
  • Can You Hear Me? by Elena Varvello, translated from Italian by Alex Valente. Published by Two Roads. July 2017
  • The Sea Migrations by Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf, translated from Somali by Clare Pollard, Said Jama Hussein, Maxamed Xasan ‘Alto’. Published by Bloodaxe Books and The Poetry Translation Centre. October 2017
  • 1947 by Elisabeth Åsbrink, translated from Swedish by Fiona Graham. Published by Scribe UK. November 2017

2 Comments on “Record number of women authors and translators win PEN Translates awards”

  1. Amazing work. Translating is not easy. Thank you all so much. Translation is a great way to help others understand. Translators gives voice to others, and learn about themselves in the process.

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