PEN Translates awards go to books from sixteen countries, in eleven languages

Books from sixteen countries and eleven languages make up the latest round of PEN Translates award winners. They include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories and children’s literature and – for the first time – translations from the Burmese, Vietnamese and Romanian.

Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager, English PEN, said:

These awards go to seventeen books of outstanding merit and courage. In a moment where the movement of art and ideas across borders is being challenged, translation is a vital corrective. We are thrilled that PEN Translates continues to contribute to literary accessibility and internationalism, and to ensure translators are paid properly for their work. We’re excited that the UK public will get to read these important books.

Sarah Ardizzone, Co-chair of the English PEN Writers in Translation Committee, said:

The depth of field for these PEN Translates awards is breathtaking – from a hard-hitting memoir by a young Rohingya man, to a poignant children’s illustrated work from Slovenia, via a zany exposé of colonised language in a Belarusian novel. We’re proud to be supporting outstanding literary fiction from across Latin America, as well as China, Vietnam, Palestine, Iraq and Romania; together with poetry from Haiti, Cuba and Romania, and short story collections from Malaysia and Myanmar. Dynamic and innovative models for international publishing are especially to be saluted, in a list that is proactively both global and local.

Books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, strength of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK. The award-winning books are featured on the English PEN World Bookshelf website, in partnership with Foyles.

PEN Translates award winners:

Alinarka’s Children by Alhierd Bacharevic, translated from the Belarusian by Jim Dingley. Scotland Street Press, June 2020. Country of origin: Belarus.

God 99 by Hassan Blasim, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright. Comma Press, January 2020. Country of origin: Iraq.

Crossroads and Lampposts by Trn Dn, translated from the Vietnamese by David Payne. Oneworld Books, September 2020. Country of origin: Vietnam.

Exodus by Benjamin Fondane, translated from the French by Henry King and Andrew Rubens. Carcanet Press, Autumn 2019. Country of origin: Romania.

Chaophony by Franketienne, translated from the French by Andres Naffis-Sahely. Carcanet Press, Autumn 2019. Country of origin: Haiti.

First They Erased Our Names: A Rohingya Speaks by Habiburahman and Sophie Ansel, translated from the French by Andrea Reece. Scribe, August 2019. Country of origin: Australia/Myanmar.

Lake Like A Mirror by Ho Sok Fong, translated from the Chinese by Natascha Bruce. Granta Books, January 2010. Country of origin: Malaysia.

A Little Body Are Many Parts by Legna Rodriguez Iglesias, translated from the Spanish by Abigail Parry and Serafina Vick. The Poetry Translation Centre, October 2019. Country of origin: Cuba.

Theatre of War by Andrea Jeftanovic, translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead. Charco Press, January 2020. Country of origin: Chile.

Felix and His Suitcase by Dunja Jogan, translated from the Slovenian by Olivia Hellewell. Tiny Owl, May 2020. Country of origin: Slovenia.

The Past Is an Imperfect Tense by Bernardo Kucinski, translated from the Portuguese by Tom Gatehouse. Latin American Bureau, November 2019. Country of origin: Brazil.

Loop by Brenda Lozano, translated from the Spanish by Annie McDermott. Charco Press, November 2019. Country of origin: Mexico.

Holiday Heart by Margarita Garcia Robayo, translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Coombe. Charco Press, May 2020. Country of origin: Colombia.

The Town with the Acacia Tree by Mihail Sebastian, translated from the Romanian by Gabi Reigh. Aurora Metro, September 2019. Country of origin: Romania.

Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from the Arabic by EliSabeth Jaquette. Fitzcarraldo Editions, May 2020. Country of origin: Germany/Palestine.

Yezet by various, translated from the Burmese by Alfred Birnbaum. Strangers Press, November 2019. Country of origin: Myanmar.

Hard Like Water by Yan Lianke, translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas. Chatto & Windus, February 2020. Country of origin: China.

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