Story collection smuggled out of North Korea among PEN Translates award winners
The Accusation, a short story collection by North Korean author Bandi has been selected to receive a PEN Translation award from English PEN. The book, published by Serpent's Tail, is translated by Man Booker International Prize-winner Deborah Smith, and is believed to be the first novel smuggled out of North Korea with the writer still living under the regime.
Ten titles were selected for a PEN Translates award in the Autumn 2016 round. Other awarded authors include Ismail Kadare for The Traitor's Niche (Harvill Secker), Alain Mabanckou for Black Moses (Serpent's Tail), and Wioletta Greg for Swallowing Mercury (Portobello Books).
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. Publishers receive a grant to fund translation costs, and English PEN award-winning books are featured on the English PEN World Bookshelf website.
Samantha Schnee, a trustee of English PEN and Chair of the Writers in Translation Committee, said:
At a time when xenophobia seems to be on the rise around the world, it’s increasingly important to build bridges between nations. The ten titles chosen to receive PEN Translates grants will be translated from nine different languages by award-winning translators; through these texts readers will be able to travel to nine different countries on four continents, greatly broadening our understanding of the world and the lives of others who may seem, at times, so far away as to be alien.
English PEN is now accepting applications from UK publishers for the next round of PEN Translates awards. The deadline for submissions is Monday 12 December 2016.
English PEN is also accepting applications from literary translators to its PEN Presents programme, which provides funding for a sample translation of a book which has not yet been acquired for English-language publication. The focus for this round of PEN Presents is East and South East Asia. The deadline for submissions is Monday 5 December 2016.
PEN Translates award-winning titles in Autumn 2016
•The President's Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli, translated from Arabic by Luke Leafgren, published by MacLehose Press
•The Gurugu Pledge by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, translated from Spanish by Jethro Soutar, published by And Other Stories
•The Accusation by Bandi, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith, published by Serpent's Tail
•Portrait of a Family with a Fat White Daughter by Margherita Giacobino, translated from Italian by Judith Landry, published by Dedalus Books
•Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg, translated from Polish by Eliza Marcinak, published by Portobello Books
•The Traitor's Niche by Ismail Kadare, translated from Albanian by John Hodgson, published by Harvill Secker
•River by Esther Kinsky, translated from German by Iain Galbraith, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions
•Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou, translated from French by Helen Stevenson, published by Serpent's Tail
•The Highway to Hell (working title) by Emiliano Monge, translated from Spanish by Frank Wynne, published by Scribe UK
•Kingdom of Twilight by Steven Uhly, translated from German by Jamie Bulloch, published by MacLehose Press
•The English PEN World Bookshelf site is at http://worldbookshelf.englishpen.org/
•English PEN's Writers in Translation programme has been promoting literature in translation since 2005, and received financial support from Bloomberg from 2005 to 2015. Overseen by a dedicated committee of literary professionals, the programme includes a dynamic portfolio of activities, which includes translation grants, events and outreach projects, a popular international blog, and advocacy work on free speech and access to literature.
•English PEN's major publisher grants programme, PEN Translates, awards grants to UK publishers for translation costs and is supported by Arts Council England. Over 200 books in translation have been supported by English PEN grants since 2005.
•English PEN, a registered charity, promotes the freedom to write and the freedom to read in the UK and around the world. The founding centre of a worldwide writers' association, established in 1921, we work to identify and dismantle barriers between writers and readers, whether these are cultural, political, linguistic or economic. In 2011 English PEN was awarded the highest funding increase in the literature sector by Arts Council England to develop literature in translation.