International Translation Day 2019 | Free Word

30 September 2019
18:00 21:00-

Presented by:
English PEN


Translating Today. The largest coming-together for the UK translation community.

Literature knows no frontiers, and should remain a common currency between nations in spite of political or international upheavals. – The PEN Charter

International Translation Day, the largest coming-together for the UK translation community, is back. Translation and translators play a pivotal role in moving words and ideas across linguistic and national borders; in fostering internationalism; and in giving readers access to outstanding literature not originally published in the English language.

Following the success of 2018’s format, ITD 2019’s evening programme explores ‘Translating Today’ – what it means to be a translator working in this moment, and what it means to attempt to translate it. Featuring:


Translation Clinics.

Bring challenges (small or large) to discuss with Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Ros Schwartz.


Translating Today.

Meena Kandasamy, Sophie Collins and Christine De Luca discuss what it means to translate today. Chaired by Will Forrester.


Pitching Today.

Translators will live-pitch book translation proposals to Ailah Ahmed (Little, Brown), Jacques Testard (Fitzcarraldo Editions), Emmie Francis (Faber & Faber) and Tilted Axis.


Translation Party.

Network and celebrate with colleagues, publishers and organisers.

30 September 2019
18:00 - 21:00

English PEN


Meena Kandasamy

Poet, translator and activist

Meena Kandasamy is a poet, fiction writer, translator and activist who was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch (2006) and Ms Militancy (2010), and the critically acclaimed novel, The Gypsy Goddess. Her second novel, When I Hit You, was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction, 2018. She has translated several books from Tamil into English, ranging from Dalit political essays to contemporary feminist poetry. She is the recipient of a PEN Translates award for the Tamil writer Salma's novel, Dreams. She currently lives in East London.

Sophie Collins

Translator, poet and lecturer

Sophie Collins is the editor of Currently & Emotion (Test Centre, 2016), an anthology of contemporary poetry translations, and author of small white monkeys (Book Works, 2017) and Who Is Mary Sue? (Faber, 2018). The Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes, her translation, from the Dutch, of Lieke Marsman’s De volgende scan duurt vijf minuten, has just been published by Pavilion Poetry and was named the Poetry Book Society’s Summer Translation Choice 2019. She lectures at the University of Glasgow.

Christine De Luca

Poet and translator

Christine De Luca lives in Edinburgh. She writes in English and Shetlandic, her mother tongue. She was appointed Edinburgh's Makar (poet laureate) for 2014-2017. Besides several children’s stories and one novel, she has had seven poetry collections and four bi-lingual volumes published (French, Italian, Icelandic and Norwegian). She’s participated in many festivals here and abroad and numerous translation activities. Her poems have been selected four times for the Best Scottish Poems of the Year (2006, 2010, 2013 and 2015) for the Scottish Poetry Library online anthologies. She particularly enjoys collaborating with composers and musicians.

Will Forrester


Will Forrester is Translation and International Manager at English PEN, where he manages PEN Translates, a flagship translation grant programme, and is Editor of PEN Transmissions. He is also Assistant Editor at Review 31, and has previously worked for the cultural agency of the Commonwealth and in visual arts in Malaysia. Elsewhere, he is a writer and critic and J. M. Coetzee devotee.

Emmie Francis

Editor, Faber and Faber

Jacques Testard

Publisher, Fitzcarraldo Editions

Ailah Ahmed

Editorial Director, Little, Brown Book Group



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