International women writers celebrated in bumper PEN grants season


Han Kang, Karmele Jaio and Lydie Salvayre are among the eight women writers whose books have been awarded an English PEN grant in the latest round. Han, acclaimed author of The Vegetarian, will publish her novel Human Acts in January 2016 with the backing of both a PEN Promotes and a PEN Translates grant.

Sixteen PEN Translates grants were awarded in this round, with eight awarded to books by women writers; this is the first time that women and men have shared the grants equally. This is also the first round in which publishers with a turnover of less than £500,000pa were eligible to apply for 100% of translation costs; five 100% grants were awarded.

Four books, all by writers from outside Europe, were awarded a PEN Promotes grant in this round. In total, 15 languages were represented across both grants, including Sorani Kurdish, Occitan, Basque, Nynorsk, Turkish and Bangla.

Samantha Schnee, a trustee of English PEN and Chair of the Writers in Translation Committee, said:

This round of PEN grants is an exciting first in that there is an equal number of male and female authors. Another exciting development is that we had more submissions than ever from independent publishers. The PEN Promotes grants include two collections of stories from Sudan and Bangladesh, a Korean novel, and a Kurdish epic and, as a whole, these 19 titles provide an excellent window onto the world.

Submissions are currently open for the new round of PEN Translates. The deadline is Monday 7 December. Please see the PEN Translates page for more details.

Winner of a 2015 PEN Promotes award

  • Human Acts by Han Kang, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith. Published by Portobello Books. January 2016.
  • The Book of Khartoum, edited by Raphael Cormack and Max Shmookler. Published by Comma Press. January 2016.
  • The Book of Dhaka, edited by Ra Page. Published by Comma Press. February 2016.
  • I Stared at the Night of the City by Bakhtiyar Ali, translated from Kurdish by Kareem Abdulrahman. Published by Periscope. June 2015.

Winner of a 2015 PEN Translates award

  • Human Acts by Han Kang, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith. Published by Portobello Books. January 2016.
  • The Man I Became by Peter Verhelst, translated from Dutch by David Colmer. Published by Peirene Press. February 2016.
  • Crystal Wedding by Xu Xiaobin, translated from Mandarin by Nicky Harman. Published by Balestier Press. March 2016.
  • Kruso by Lutz Seiler, translated from German by Tess Lewis. Published by Scribe UK. March 2016.
  • This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets, translated from Spanish by Valerie Miles. Published by Harvill Secker. May 2016.
  • Khomeiny, Sade and Me by Abnousse Shalmani, translated from French by Charlotte Coombe. Published by World Editions. May 2016.
  • Cry, Mother Spain by Lydie Salvayre, translated from French by Ben Faccini. Published by Maclehose Press. June 2016.
  • Encircling 2 by Carl Frode Tiller, translated from Nynorsk by Barbara J Haveland. Published by Sort Of Books. July 2016.
  • What Good Is a Revolution If I Can’t Dance by Ece Temelkuran, translated from Turkish by Alexander Dawe. Published by Parthian Books. July 2016.
  • About My Mother by Tahar Ben Jelloun, translated from French by Ros Schwartz and Lulu Norman. Published by Saqi Books. September 2016.
  • The November Boy by Bernat Manciet, translated from Occitan by James Thomas. Published by Francis Boutle. September 2016.
  • My Mother’s Hands by Karmele Jaio, translated from Basque by Kristin Addis. Published by Parthian Books. September 2016.
  • The Winterlings by Cristina Sánchez-Andrade, translated from Spanish by Samuel Rutter. Published by Scribe UK. October 2016.
  • The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Sila, translated from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar. Published by Dedalus Books. October 2016.
  • Ukelele Jam by Alan Mešković, translated from Danish by Paul Russell Garrett. Published by Seren Books. March 2017.
  • The Meteorologist by Olivier Rolin, translated from French by Ros Schwartz. Published by Harvill Secker. June 2017.


6 Comments on International women writers celebrated in bumper PEN grants season - Leave a comment

Anita Helle

Can you let me know what PEN-sponsored events in London will be held during the month of July 2016?
I’m traveling, and perhaps bringing MFA graduate students.

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