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Translation Pitch: New Literary Voices with PEN Presents

Six enthralling books by contemporary European writers which have not yet been translated into English will be pitched live

Thursday 9 Jun, 6.30pm

The Translation Pitch is back! Six translators go head-to-head, pitching their ‘must-acquire’ European books to a live audience and a jury of top publishing experts: Max Porter (Granta/Portobello), Meike Ziervogel (Peirene Press) and Stefan Tobler (And Other Stories). This whirlwind tour of contemporary European writing will uncover brilliant books from Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Turkey and France which have not yet been translated into English.

English PEN’s ‘PEN Presents’ initiative seeks to help UK publishers to discover – and publish – the most exciting books from around the world, and to support literary translators in their development as advocates for international literature. All six shortlisted translators in this European round of PEN Presents will be awarded a prize of £250; samples and reports of their chosen books are available to download from English PEN’s website.

Speakers
  • Antoinette Fawcett
  • Paula Darwish
  • Karen Leeder
  • Emma Mandley
  • Sam Nagele
  • James Womack

Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Rd, London EC1R 3GA
Admission: £5
Bookings:
 +44 20 7324 2570,  www.freewordcentre.com

Antoinette Fawcett

I have always related to other cultures and languages. As a child I lived in several different countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, where I heard and attempted to speak the native languages. As my mother is Dutch, my love of the Dutch language was born when I was born, and I grew up for a few years as a bilingual child. Family circumstances, however, meant that the language was used less and less, and I was left longing to recover the second language of my childhood. In the intervals of my life as a teacher, also in many different countries, I attempted to learn all the aspects of the Dutch language that I hadn’t known as a child and to relearn what I had lost. As a mature student, after a career teaching English Language and Literature in the UK and abroad, I returned to my studies, obtaining an MA in Literary Translation (Distinction) at the University of East Anglia (2008). I followed this with a PhD in Literary Translation at the same institution (2014). I am now establishing myself in Dutch-to-English Literary Translation, with specialisms in challenging and well-written Young Adult and Children’s Literature and modern poetry.

Antoinette Fawcett

Paula Darwish

English is my mother tongue and I studied Turkish Language and Literature with Middle Eastern History at SOAS, and also at the Bosphorous University in Istanbul, graduating in 1997 with a First Class Honours Degree. I am passionate about bringing Turkish literature, historical and political writing to a wider audience. Although I have been involved in translation on and off since graduation, it was not until 2013 that I launched into full-time work as a freelance translator. I am also a professional musician and have been performing folk music from Turkey and the Middle East for over fifteen years. This year I was selected to attend the CUNDA Workshops for Translators of Turkish Literature, sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and organised by the Bosphorous University’s Translation Studies Department. I contributed to collaborative translations of the Turkish writer and poet, Behçet Necatigil. I am also a member of the Collective of Women Writers and Translators and the North West Translator’s Network.

Paula Darwish

Karen Leeder

Karen Leeder is a writer, translator and academic. Since 1993 she has taught German at New College, Oxford and is Professor of Modern German Literature there. She is also a translator of German into English. Ten volumes of prose have appeared over the last decade, including Brecht, Michael Krüger, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Wilhelm Schmid, but she specializes in poetry, most recently: Volker Braun, Rubble Flora: Selected Poems, with David Constantine (commended in the Popescu Translation Prize 2015) and Michael Krüger, Last Day of the Year: Selected Poems (both 2014). She publishes regularly in top quality international journals of poetry and translation and has been commissioned to translate for various festivals and venues (Southbank Centre, Rotterdam Poetry Festival, German Academy, Aldeburgh International Poetry Festival, Cheltenham, etc.). She has done stints on the boards of PEN, BCLT, Poetry Trust, and appears regularly in conversation with poets at festivals and on the BBC. She has been awarded residencies in the UK and Germany. Her translation of Schmid’s High on Low won 4 prizes in the USA (2014-5); she won the Schlegel Tieck Prize for Evelyn Schlag’s Selected Poems in 2005 and the Stephen Spender Prize in 2013 for her translation of Durs Grünbein.

Karen Leeder

Emma Mandley

Emma Mandley’s first degree was in Italian and History of Art, and in December 2015 she receives her Masters degree in Translation, specializing in Italian, from the University of Bristol. Emma’s career has been spent mainly in broadcasting and the arts, but she is now focusing on literary translation. She is currently translating a new novel by Ortensia Visconti and has also recently begun translating for the Books in Italy website. She translates into English from French as well as from Italian and is based in London. Emma is an associate member of the Society of Authors.

Emma Mandley

Sam Nagele

Having completed an MA in Translating Popular Culture at City University this September, I’m now just starting out as a professional translator. I currently work with Deluxe Media providing freelance consistency checks for film and television subtitles and have already had the good fortune to work on a handful of fantastic translation projects, though am yet to translate a full book. Earlier this year I worked with fellow students creating subtitles for a film produced by the London Film Academy and, recently, on behalf of a Swedish film company I translated transcripts for a documentary about a group of female student-mechanics in Burkina Faso. But by far the most challenging project I’ve worked on so far came in March, when I was contacted by one of the external supervisors for my MA and given the opportunity to work on English translations of Charlie Hebdo following the horrific attacks in January. Before translation I studied French at the University of Leeds and went on to work for a while in travel and tourism, before leaving to do some travelling of my own, and also tackled various temporary jobs. But for me, none of these compares to the joy of translating.

Sam Nagele

James Womack

James Womack was born in 1979 in England and has lived in Spain since 2008. He is a founding editor of Nevsky Prospects, a Madrid-based publishing house that produces Spanish versions of Russian literature. He has translated several books from Spanish into English, including Roberto Arlt’s El juguete rabioso (The Mad Toy, Hesperus 2013), Silvina Ocampo’s La torre sin fin (The Topless Tower, Hesperus 2010), Julia Navarro’s Dispara, yo ya estoy muerto (Shoot Me, I’m Already Dead, Random House Mondadori 2014), Albert Espinosa’s El mundo amarillo (The Yellow World, Particular Books, 2012) and Sergio Del Molino’s La hora violeta (The Violet Hour, forthcoming from Hispabooks 2016). As a translator and reader, he is particularly interested in contemporary Peninsular Spanish fiction. He is also a poet and translator of poetry: his first collection, Misprint, was published by Carcanet in 2012, and he is currently working on versions of the Russian Futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, and the two young Spanish poets Sofía Rhei and Hasier Larretxea.

James Womack