Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Writers in Translation supports the best new literature in translation


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Writers in Translation continues to support the best new literature in translation
 
29 November 2011
 
A window into the personal and professional life of highly acclaimed eyewitness journalist Ryszard Kapuścinśki; a compelling and powerful story of Palestinian identity and exile; a riveting novel that is also a powerful reflection on the life and death of languages; and a poignant collection of poems from each of the 204 Olympic nations.
 
English PEN has announced the recipients of their Writers in Translation awards for the first half of 2012.  Announcing the awards, Ros Schwartz, Chair of the Writers in Translation Committee, said:
 
Once again Writers in Translation is delighted to support an exciting and eclectic choice of excellent books which will contribute to the ‘bibliodiversity’ of the UK book scene.
 
The four titles are:
 
·         The Biography by Ryszard Kapuścinśki, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Verso)
·         The Lady from Tel Aviv by Rabai al-Madhoun, translated by Elliott Colla (Telegram Books)
·         The Last of the Vostyaks by Diego Marani, translated by Judith Landry (Dedalus Books) 
·         The World Record by various poets and translators (Bloodaxe Books).
 
You can read more on each of these titles by visiting the Writers in Translation Supported Titles 2012 page on the English PEN website.
 
English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme supports between 6-8 books a year, helping publishers to market, promote, champion and celebrate literature in translation. 
Established in 2004, its first supported title was the late Anna Politkovskaya’s Putin’s Russia (translated by Arch Tait) which went on to sell over 20,000 copies. Since then, more than 40 books have received grants to help bring them to a wider British audience.
 
The next call for submissions to the Writers in Translation programme (for books published from July-December 2012) will be in January 2012.  For more information about English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme, contact Emma Cleave: emma@englishpen.org


Supported Titles 2012

A window into the personal and professional life of highly acclaimed eyewitness journalist Ryszard Kapuścinśki, a compelling and powerful story of Palestinian identity and exile, a riveting novel that is also a powerful reflection on the life and death of languages, and a poignant collection of poems from each of the 204 Olympic nations.

We are delighted to announce that the following books have received awards for the first half of 2012:

Ryszard Kapuścinśki: The Biography, by Artur Domosławski, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

This is the definitive biography of one of the most significant journalists of the twentieth century. From postcolonial Africa to revolutionary Iran, from the military dictatorships of Latin America to Soviet Russia, the Polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuścinśki was one of the most dauntless and important eyewitnesses of his time. In his committed reporting of the great revolutions of the age, and his resolute anti-colonialism, Kapuścinśki created a new genre of creative reporting: one that brought him immense renown in the Western world. In this biography, Artur Domosławski shines new light on the personal relationships of this intensely charismatic, highly private man, and the intractable issue at the heart of Kapuścinśki's life and work: the question of where journalism ends and literature begins. Close to Kapuścinśki, and with unparalleled access to his private papers, Domosławski traces his mentor's footsteps and delves into the files and archives that Kapuścinśki himself examined.
To be published by Verso.

The Lady from Tel Aviv, by Rabai al-Madhoun, translated from the Arabic by Elliott Colla
In the economy class of a plane bound for Tel Aviv, the lives of two passengers intersect: Waleed Dahman, a Palestinian novelist returning to Gaza for the first time in thirty-eight years; and Dana Ahova, a famous Israeli actress seeking the comforts of home after the disappearance of her boyfriend. Desperate for consolation, Dana confides in Waleed. Soon, forgotten fears resurface - Dana's paranoid fear for her own life and Waleed's suspicions about Mossad. As the night sky hurtles past, the course of both their lives begins to change, and so too does the novel that Waleed is working on. By the time Waleed arrives in Gaza, he seems no more real - and no less imaginary - than his fictional character. The Lady from Tel Aviv is one of the great achievements of modern Arabic literature. At times a literary thriller, an exploration about lost family history and a meditation on the nature of fiction itself, it is, above all, a reflection on Palestinian identity and exile.
To be published by Telegram Books.

The Last of the Vostyaks, by Diego Marani, translated from the Italian by Judith Landry

As a child, Ivan and his father worked as forced labourers in a mine in Siberia, the father having committed some minor offence against the regime. He is then murdered in front of his young son, after which Ivan - who is a Vostyak, an imaginary ethnic group of whose language he is the last remaining speaker - is struck dumb by having witnessed his father's murder. Some twenty years later the guards desert their posts and Ivan walks away free, together with the other inmates. Guided by some mysterious power, he returns to the region he originally came from… A roller-coaster ride whisking the reader alternatively through zones of darkness, hilarity, cruelty, tenderness, the near-lubricious, and pleasingly light-hearted yet telling considerations on the nature and life and death of languages; and that's without even mentioning the sub-plots.
To be published by Dedalus Books. 

The World Record, by various poets and translators

The World Record is an international anthology of work by poets from all the countries taking part in the 2012 London Olympics, featuring a translated poem from each of the 204 Olympic nations, from Armenia to Tuvalu, Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan. With this book you can discover the world through its keenest observers, political activists and most articulate wordsmiths. There's something for every taste: new voices as well as world greats, rappers and spoken-word artists as well as poets and storytellers. The World Record marks the first time so many living poets from so many countries have been gathered together in one anthology - and 2012 is the first time so many poets have been gathered in one place. Up to 204 poets come together in London for Poetry Parnassus, a week-long celebratory gathering as part of the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, the Festival of the World and the London 2012 Festival. Poetry Parnassus is a monumental poetic happening worthy of the spirit and history of the Olympics. Introduced by the festival's curator, Simon Armitage, The World Record shows how poetry crosses all international boundaries to speak to readers everywhere.
To be published by Bloodaxe Books.

'Once again Writers in Translation is delighted to support an exciting and eclectic choice of excellent books which will contribute to the 'bibliodiversity' of the UK book scene.' Ros Schwartz, Chair, Writers in Translation

We're also looking forward to supporting the delayed publication of these two excellent titles:

The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, translated from the French by Frank Wynne

Born to a Jewish family in Paris, 1925, Lanzmann's first encounter with radicalism was as part of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation. He and his father were soldiers of the underground until the end of the war, smuggling arms and making raids on the German army. After the liberation of France, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. In Paris he met Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and started an affair with the latter that would last for seven tumultuous years. He became the editor of her political-literary journal - a position which he holds to this day - and joined the ranks of the most important literary and philosophical figures of post-war France. Lanzmann's memoir is a cry of witness to the 20th century that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. To be Published by Atlantic Books

Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by John Fletcher

This is the story of three French women of African heritage who refuse to be bowed by circumstances or submit to expectations. Forty-year-old Norah leaves Paris, her family and her career as a lawyer to visit her father in Dakar. It is an uncomfortable reunion - she is asked to use her skills as a lawyer to get her brother out of prison - and ultimately the trip endangers her marriage and her relationship with her daughter, and drives her to the very edge of madness. Fanta, on the other hand, leaves Dakar to follow her husband Rudy to rural France. And it is through Rudy's bitter and guilt-ridden perspective that we see Fanta stagnate with boredom in this alien, narrow environment. Khady is forced into exile from Senegal because of poverty, because her husband is dead, because she is lonely and in despair. With other illegal immigrants, she embarks on a journey which takes her nowhere, but from which she will never return. To be published by MacLehose Press

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dawit Isaak death rumours cast dark cloud over Day of the Imprisoned Writer



16 November 2011

Dawit Isaak death rumours cast dark cloud over Day of the Imprisoned Writer


http://www.freedawit.com
Free expression advocates around the world showed solidarity with jailed and murdered writers on 15 November, International PEN's annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer.


Events included readings, speeches, performances and demonstrations held to raise awareness of prisoners who have been jailed for their writings, statements or activism. Among the most pressing cases featured by PEN Canada was that of Dawit Isaak, the co-founder of "Setit," Eritrea's first independent newspaper, who has been held without charges in Eritrea for 10 years now. Rumours circulating in social and online media allege Isaak died in prison on 27 October, according to IFEX members who launched a joint appeal to call for the authorities to reveal his whereabouts.

Some of the other political prisoners highlighted by the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) PEN International included Tashi Rabten, a Tibetan poet and essayist jailed for writing articles about the brutal suppression of Tibetan independence protests; Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace, a human rights blogger sentenced to life in Bahrain for his role in pro-democracy protests; and Reeyot Alemu, an Ethiopian columnist who has been cut off from all contacts, including lawyers, but is believed to be detained under repressive antiterrorism laws.

The day also honoured the 33 writers and journalists killed in the past year, almost half of who were murdered in Mexico and Pakistan alone. A Mexican poet and human rights activist, Susana Chavez, was also one of WiPC feature cases. She was murdered on 6 January this year, says WiPC, "in an attack many have claimed was the result of her writing and activism."

In an event organised by English PEN, Actors for Human Rights brought to life the comedic writings of persecuted writers, including Turkish playwright Ali Taygun and Burmese comedian Zarganar.

Turkish PEN meanwhile held a press conference with journalists and publishers who drew attention to the recent arrests of professor Ragip Zarakolu and publisher Busra Ersanli. WiPC also called attention to the cases of Nadim Sener and Ahmet Shik, who were detained for writing books and articles that named police and other high level individuals connected to the Ergenekon case.

PEN Canada invited pedestrians in Toronto to have their pictures taken with large portraits of Isaak and Nasrin Sotoudeh and write to the relevant authorities to demand their release. Sotoudeh is an Iranian human rights lawyer and journalist serving a six-year journalist in the notorious Evin prison for "propaganda against the regime."

Earlier this week, 31 IFEX organisations sent a letter to Eritrea's president Issayas Afewerki, expressing deep concern about rumours of Isaak's death. The organisations, led by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), requested information on Isaak's location (which is currently unclear) and health condition, called on authorities to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Isaak and demanded that the journalist be immediately released if he is still alive.

RSF additionally called on the European Union and Swedish government to demand information on the whereabouts and health condition of Isaak, who has dual Eritrean and Swedish nationality. "If they cannot get a response or if it is confirmed that Dawit died in detention, all relations between Eritrea and Sweden and the EU will have to be reviewed," RSF said in a statement.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Phone Hacking and the Freedom of the Press


This fortnight, English PEN asks tough questions about the future of press freedom in the UK and remembers writers who have stood up for free speech around the world.
 
FREE SPEECH CAFE: WHAT PRICE PRESS FREEDOM?
 
6.30pm, Thursday 10 November, Free Word Centre
Read more and book tickets here: http://bit.ly/ivkCHd
 
There have been shocking revelations this week about the use of video surveillance by the News of the World against lawyers of the phone hacking victims. As the hacking scandal grows, and James Murdoch prepares to face MPs once more, we ask: ‘What price press freedom?’ Stephen Abell, Director of the Press Complaints Commission, and Brian Cathcart, founder of the Hacked Off campaign, lead an English PEN debate chaired by journalist and activist Rowenna Davis.
 
English PEN is developing its response to the escalating crisis. We want to know what you think. Is it time to replace self regulation of the press with state regulation? Or is the free press too important to sacrifice because of one scandal? Is the Press Complaints Commission at fault for failing to stamp out phone hacking; or is this a case of one rogue newspaper?
 
Read more and book tickets here: http://bit.ly/ivkCHd
 
 
NIGHT OF THE IMPRISONED WRITER
 
7:30pm (door, 7pm), Tuesday 15 November, The Tabernacle, London W11 2AY
To read more and book tickets, click here.

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English PEN and ice&fire Theatre present:
NIGHT OF THE IMPRISONED WRITER
A unique performance evening to mark the 30th annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer.
HELLO MR MILLER, HELLO MR PINTER

Don’t miss your chance to see this special one-off performance in which the powerful words of persecuted writers from Mexico to Bahrain, from Kenya to Azerbaijan, have been woven together by award-winning playwright Sonja Linden and English PEN’s Cat Lucas.

‘Hello…’ features letters and other writings by eleven writers that PEN has supported in the last 30 years, including Turkish playwright Ali Taygun who was in regular correspondence with the late Harold Pinter and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the only Nobel laureate currently in detention. Also featured are Azerbaijani editor Eynulla Fatullayev, Vietnamese essayist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy and Burmese comedian and poet Zarganar, all of whom have been released in the last six months thanks to our combined efforts.

Directed by Christine Bacon and performed by Actors for Human Rights, ‘Hello…’ is both a moving celebration of PEN’s work on behalf of imprisoned and persecuted writers around the world and a concrete testament to the bravery of those writers who, often at great risk to themselves and their families, continue to speak out.

STAND UP FOR WRITERS IN PRISON

And because no-one speaks out quite like a comic, we’re delighted to be bringing you some of today’s finest acts to illustrate what freedom of speech is all about…

NICK DOODY

The fantastic Nick Doody will be bringing his own very special brand of political comedy and satire to ‘Night of the Imprisoned Writer’. The creator and head writer of BBC Radio 4′s ‘Bigipedia’, Nick has also written for ’8 out of 10 cats’ and ‘Armando Ianucci’s Charm Offensive’ and supported the legendary Bill Hicks on his final tour of the UK. We’re delighted to have him on board!

For more on Nick, click here.

"All hail Nick Doody…true comedy gold: polished, rich in material and a find among all the fools" Metro

"Some of the best political material I have heard in a while…comic genius" – The Scotsman

"very impressive … unfailingly good punchlines … intelligent and funny … comes with the chortle seal of approval" – CHORTLE

MARCEL LUCONT

The hilarious Marcel Lucont is a self-proclaimed ‘flâneur, raconteur, bon-viveur’ and easily the greatest UK-based French comedian around. Marcel’s ‘Chat Show’ was voted one of the top 25 Best-Rated Comedy Shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, and he won the Spank! Award for Best Headliner in 2010. We look forward to seeing him in action!

For more on Marcel, click here.

"Fresh, accessible and hilarious" – The Guardian

"Wonderful French wit … superb stuff … His elegant, sardonic turns of phrase are an utter joy" – Time Out

"Deadpan delivery and surreal musings… A stand-up star in the making" – Thelondonpaper

Show starts: 7.30pm (Doors: 7pm)

Tickets are £10 – and all proceeds go directly to English PEN’s Writers in Prison Programme to cover the costs of our campaigning activities. (www.englishpen.org/writersinprison)

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English PEN has been marking the Day of the Imprisoned Writer since 1981. This year we present a groundbreaking, moving – and surprisingly funny – event at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill. In collaboration with ice&fire theatre we have devised Hello Mr Miller, Hello Mr Pinter, featuring the powerful words of persecuted writers for whom PEN has campaigned over the decades.
 
And because no-one speaks quite as freely as a stand-up comic, we’re proud to bring you some of today’s finest acts to illustrate what freedom of speech is all about. The fantastic Nick Doody will be performing his own very special brand of political comedy. The creator and head writer of BBC Radio 4′s Bigipedia, Nick has also written for 8 out of 10 cats and Armando Ianucci’s Charm Offensive and supported the legendary Bill Hicks on his final tour of the UK. Nick will be joined by the hilarious Marcel Lucont, a self-proclaimed ‘flâneur, raconteur, bon-viveur’ and easily the greatest UK-based French comedian around. Marcel’s Chat Show was voted one of the top-25 Best-Rated Comedy Shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, and he won the Spank! Award for Best Headliner in 2010.
"All hail Nick Doody…true comedy gold: polished, rich in material and a find among all the fools" Metro
 
"Wonderful French wit … superb stuff … His elegant, sardonic turns of phrase are an utter joy" – Time Out
 
To read more and book tickets, click here.