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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

English PEN Grants announced

Any news on the translated literature front is good news at Messenger’s Booker, and the recent announcement of the English PEN grants gives me a reading list like I’ve never approached before.

With sixteen PEN Translates grants, it was wonderful to see equal male, female representation with eight grants awarded to women writers. The four PEN promotes grants were awarded to writers from outside of Europe. The grants help publishers by funding up to 75% of translation costs and if a publisher’s annual turnover is less than £500,000 they can apply for a grant of 100% of the translation costs.

Award winning or shortlisted titles from previous grants include “Yalo” by Elias Khoury, “The Patience Stone” by Atiq Rhami, “The Iraqi Christ” by Hassan Blasim, “The Devil’s Workshop” by Jachym Topol, “The Ravens” by Tomas Bannerhead, “By Night The Mountain Burns” by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, “Back To Back” by Julia Franck, “Sworn Virgin” by Elvira Dones and “The End Of Days” by Jenny Erpenbeck all of these books reviewed here over the last couple of years.

Here is the listing of the recent grants, with the author, translator, publisher and release date also listed:

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 2016.

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.

If you are looking for something new to read, this is a wonderful list of world literature where you can explore something a little different, I’m pretty sure you’ll be impressed. I’m also pretty confident that the Man Booker International Prize longlist in 2017 will include a number of these works.

For all grants previously awarded have a look at the selection at


Charlie Coombe said...
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Charlie Coombe said...


I hope you get the chance to read my forthcoming translation of Khomeini, Sade and Me and write a review. I am really looking forward to people's reactions to and thoughts on this book.

Literary Translator