PEN Translates awards showcase writers from seventeen countries

Books from seventeen countries and ten languages make up the latest round of PEN Translates award winners.

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Books from seventeen countries and ten languages make up the latest round of PEN Translates award winners. These include poetry collections from the Caribbean, Indonesia, The Netherlands and Iran, novels from Sudan, Cape Verde and Syria, and autofiction from Peru.

Sarah Ardizzone, co-chair of the Writers in Translation committee, said:

‘At a time when outstanding literary talent and groundbreaking diversity are sometimes framed in a zero sum game, it is to be celebrated that both are flourishing in the very DNA of these PEN Translates awards. For the first time, the majority of winning titles are by women, including the first female novelist from Cape Verde to be translated into English. Diversity of talent, consensus of agreement: the selection panel was united in welcoming increased submissions from the Arab-speaking world, and in recognising the bold risk-taking of small independent publishers and their imaginative strategies to connect with new readers. The range of genres and previously unheard voices is a revitalising tonic: this is a list that can’t be translated fast enough into the English language.’

Theodora Danek, Writers in Translation Programme Manager, said:

‘At English PEN we believe that writing should cross borders and be accessible to all. Without internationalism and translation, literary diversity is incomplete. PEN Translates is central to our mission of getting new voices to readers in the UK and the Anglophone world – and in ensuring that translators get paid properly for their work. We’re thrilled that this round of PEN Translates award winners includes books from so many different countries and genres, but most of all we’re excited to be given the opportunity to read stories that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to read.’

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.

2018 PEN Translates award winners

  • The Distance between Us by Renato Cisneros, translated from Spanish by Fionn Petch. Charco Press, August 2018 Country of origin: Peru
  • The Sea Needs No Ornament edited and translated from Spanish by Loretta Collins Klobah and Maria Grau Perejoan. Peepal Tree Press, autumn 2018. Country of origin: The Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Virgin Islands
  • The Book of Cairo edited by Raph Cormack. Comma Press, January 2019. Translated from Arabic by Raphael Cohen, Basma Ghalayini, Thoraya al-Rayyes, Elisabeth Jaquette, Andrew Leber, Raph Cormack, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp, Kareem James Abu Zeid, Yasmine Seale, Adam Talib. Country of origin: Egypt
  • Resistance by Julián Fuks, translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn. Charco Press, October 2018. Country of origin: Brazil
  • Negative of a Group Photograph by Azita Ghahreman, translated from Farsi by Maura Dooley and Elhum Shakerifar. Poetry Translation Centre/Bloodaxe Books, October 2018. Country of origin: Iran/Sweden
  • My Name is Adam by Elias Khoury, translated from Arabic by Humphrey Davies. Maclehose Press, November 2018. Country of origin: Lebanon
  • Song of Stars by Guus Luijters, translated from Dutch by Marian de Vooght. Smokestack Books, October 2018. Country of origin: The Netherlands
  • Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Rania Mamoun, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jacquette. Comma Press, April 2019. Country of origin: Sudan
  • Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda, translated from Japanese by Polly Barton. Tilted Axis Press, 2019. Country of origin: Japan
  • Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes. Fitzcarraldo Editions, October 2019. Country of origin: Mexico
  • Sergius Seeks Bacchus by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translated from Indonesian by Tiffany Tsao. Tilted Axis Press, 2019. Country of origin: Indonesia
  • To Leave with the Reindeer by Olivia Rosenthal, translated from French by Sophie Lewis. And Other Stories, March 2019. Country of origin: France
  • The Madwoman of Serrano by Dina Salústio, translated from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar. Dedalus Books, January 2019. Country of origin: Cape Verde
  • Singer in the Night by Olja Savičević, translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth. Istros Books, March 2019. Country of origin: Croatia
  • The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes. And Other Stories, November 2018. Country of origin: Chile/UK
  • The Frightened Ones by Dima Wannous, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jacquette. Harvill Secker, April 2019. Country of origin: Syria
  • Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina, translated from Russian by Lisa Hayden. Oneworld Publications, April 2019. Country of origin: Russia

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