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London, United Kingdom




Wrap Up and Thank Yous

The closing speech from Roma Backhouse, Director of Free Word.


Progress In Translation - New Initiatives for and by Literary Translators

This session will look at how the career of the literary translator as we know it has been changing over the last year through new opportunities, working models and self-initiated sidelines. Coming together to discuss the significance, importance and, in some cases, necessity of these new developments will be British Library Translator in Residence Jen Calleja, Ruth Clarke of new translation collective The Starling Bureau, and a member of Shadow Heroes, a project bringing translation into...


Translating Human Rights

Join translator and academic Amanda Hopkinson who will present three South American authors she has worked with who never intended to address human rights in their work, but found it impossible not to. Professor Alison Phipps, lead researcher on Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language: the Body, Law and the State at the University of Glasgow, will discuss the real life interactions that migrants face when fleeing their home countries. She will be joined by the project’s poet...


Translating Poetry

What are the specific challenges of translating poetry? Who is best equipped to do it - the solo translator, co-translators or even collaborative groups - and why? How do you best engage with a source text, and how do you ensure that the end result ‘lives and breathes’ in the target language? Does it matter whether poetry translations are ‘marketable’, or do they exist primarily to further academic research? And could translation be a part of the UK’s poetry ‘renaissance’? Join practising...


Translation Lecture with Helen Stevenson

Aimed at early career translators. A lecture with Helen Stevenson who was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize with Alain Mabanckou for Black Moses. She will share her experience, practice, and advice, and discuss the collaborative work it takes to produce an outstanding book in translation. With support from the Booker Prize Foundation


Opening Plenary

This plenary panel will examine the UK’s changing demographics, and what they might tell us about who translators are and where we might find them. How has the make-up of our cities changed? Will translators of the future be drawn mostly from second-generation urban immigrants rather than(as in the past) primarily anglophones with modern languages degrees? Will Brexit make things worse, or better? How well is the diversity of our contemporary culture currently reflected in the translation...


Kingdom Of Twilight

On 13 February 2017, German writer Steven Uhly discussed his new book, a thrilling epic novel of resettlement, with the translator of the English version, Jamie Bulloch. Featuring: Jamie Bulloch and Steven Uhly. Wanderlust: Great Literature from Around the World is a monthly event series from Free Word. Listen to writers and translators from around the world and hear them talk about their creative work. To explore the Wanderlust events and books we've held so far, click here:...


Through a Child's Eyes: Swallowing Mercury

On 16 January 2017, Polish writer Wioletta Greg introduced her book Swallowing Mercury, the tale of a girl growing up in communist Poland and trying to make sense of it in her own way. Featuring: Wioletta Greg, Eliza Marciniak and Marta Dziurosz Wanderlust: Great Literature from Around the World is a monthly event series at Free Word. To explore the Wanderlust events we’ve held so far and read about (and around) some of the books we’ve featured, click here:...


Realistic Utopias: Writing for Change

Listen to stories, poems and discussion looking at our rapidly changing world and what action we can take to help our environment and each others. Readings of new work by: Justina Hart, Emma Howell, Darragh Martin, Sarah Thomas and David Thorpe. Professor Harriet Bulkeley, Durham University, spoke with two of the writers and Dr Jane Ridiford, co-founder of Global Generation to look at how stories can help encourage action. Then Global Generation, which works to build community between each...


Dragonworld: Four Short Stories from China

On 12 December 2016, Read Paper Republic hosted an evening of speed-book clubbing at Free Word Centre on contemporary fantasy fiction from China. We asked people to read the short stories before the event, and come along to share their thoughts and questions with translators. Featuring translators Nicky Harman, Dave Haysom, Emily Jones and Helen Wang. Wanderlust: Great Literature from Around the World is a monthly event series at Free Word. To explore the Wanderlust events we’ve held so...


Arguing with Reality

How have political ideologies and crises impacted families throughout history? With new austerity measures under discussion, a refugee problem continuing, the aftermath of the Brexit vote and more to come, it is one the most relevant questions today. How do writers reflect these pressures in characters, in their work? And how do they engage with alleged realities when creating fictional versions of their own? On 18 October 2016 novelists Benjamin Markovits and Joanna Kavenna came together...


A Nordic Noir – Thomas Rydahl’s The Hermit

On 10 October 2016, Danish writer Thomas Rydahl brought his extraordinary debut crime novel The Hermit - translated by K. E. Semmel - to Free Word Centre and discussed the themes of the book with Dr Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen. Set in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, the novel's unlikely hero, a 67 year old ex-pat Danish taxi driver, is caught up in a dangerous web of corruption and murder. Wanderlust: Great Literature from Around the World is a monthly event series at Free Word:...


Northern Lights - Voices from the Arctic

Poetry, performance and film to begin Highlight Arctic, a year-long multi-arts festival from and about the circumpolar North. Featuring Niillas Holmberg, a Sámi poet, musician, actor and activist and Jessie Kleemann, and Inuit poet and performance artist. The two films screened at this event were Pitaqangittuq (2010 – Dir. Guillaume Ittukssarjuat Saladin, Félix Pharand D., Nicolas Tardif) and Hollow Earth (2014 – Dir. Tanya Busse & Emilija Skarnulyte). This event was presented by Highlight...


Body Politic 2016: Freedom of Movement

How does a climate of censorship affect art? There are different ways of not being allowed to speak. Artists discuss how issues of censorship are reflected in their art. How does censorship affect the language of the body? Are there things we cannot say, even when not using language? Body Politic is Dance Umbrella’s strand of discussions and debates focusing on key cultural issues affecting dance and performance. This was a Dance Umbrella initiative, presented in partnership with Free...


The Whole Story

Acclaimed representative of the Polish school of reportage, Witold Szabłowski, and the Guardian‘s favourite reportage illustrator, George Butler share the lessons they’ve learned about how to tell stories that hold onto the truth of another’s experience. This event was chaired by Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN.


At Home in Language?

Multilingual writers Vanni Bianconi, Xiaolu Guo and Bohdan Piasecki discuss linguistic mixing and matching, identifying (or not)with a language and self-translation.


Closing Plenary: Translation Through the Looking Glass

What does sign language literature look like? What qualities does sign language poetry have? And what challenges might lie in trying to translate a visual, gestural, dynamic, three-dimensional literature? Can the page capture it? This session took us deep into the wondrous world of sign language poetry, and introduced some of the curious forms of translation that might lurk there.


What Multilingual Creativity Means for Translators

There are now over 1 million pupils in UK schools who speak English as an additional language (EAL). Languages no longer live neatly side-by-side, but rather mix and mingle. This has thrown up new hybrid ways of using language. Participants explored what this means for translators and heard about the creative opportunities this multilingualism affords.


Publisher's Armchair

What happens after you successfully place a book with a publisher? This session aimed to give publishers the chance to explain the editorial stage and other practicalities from their point of view, providing a unique chance to learn what publishers wish translators knew about their side of the business.


Current State of Translation In Higher Education

Historically, literary translation featured in Higher Education mainly as an undergraduate language-learning method. More recently, many universities have developed master's degrees in translation that reflect the rapid development of CAT tools and the rise of Translation Studies as an academic discipline. But the role of literary translation in this context is less clear. We examined the changing role of literary translation within academia, focusing in particular on the interface between...


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