Meet the literary translators who have stayed at National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall as a Visible Communities translator in residence.
The Visible Communities residencies in the cottage are supported by the Francis W Reckitt Arts Trust.
Anam Zafar is a translator based in Birmingham, UK, working from Arabic and French to English. This year she received a PEN Translates Award for her co-translation, with Nadiyah Abdullatif, of the graphic novel Yoghurt and Jam (or how my mother became Lebanese) by Lena Merhej (forthcoming, Balestier Press). In 2021 she received the Gulf Coast Prize in Translation and the Stinging Fly New Translator’s Bursary. She also volunteers for World Kid Lit, is a member of the Translators Association’s Access Working Group, and is an Editorial Board member for The Linguist. Other collaborations with the National Centre for Writing include a translation mentorship with Meena Kandasamy (2020-21) and delivering creative translation workshops to schools through the Stephen Spender Trust. Twitter: @anam_translates; www.anamzafar.com. Image (c) Aamna Zafar.
Elhum Shakerifar is a writer and translator, most recently of PEN Award-winning, Warwick Prize-nominated Negative of a Group Photograph by Azita Ghahreman, translated alongside poet Maura Dooley (Bloodaxe Books, 2018). She is currently one of Writerz & Scribez’ inaugural poetry Griots. Elhum is also a BAFTA-nominated producer and curator working through her London-based company Hakawati (‘storyteller’ in Arabic).
Adrija Ghosh is a queer multilingual poet working with translingualism, memory, and the polycultural body. They are currently enrolled in the MA Creative Writing (Poetry) course at the University of East Anglia. They recently wrote the script for Sifr, an Indian wlw short film exploring queer intimacy which was a runner-up at the Kashish QDrishti Film Grant 2021. They are passionate about decolonization, diversity, and inclusivity in the literary canon, research, and scholarship. They previously completed their Master’s in Comparative Literature from the University of Edinburgh, where they served as the Co-Editor of the peer-reviewed journal FORUM. Their poetry has appeared in the The Dark Horse Magazine, and more can be found on @byadrija on Twitter and Instagram.
Nadiyah Abdullatif is a translator and editor based in Scotland. She translates from Arabic, French and Spanish into English. She is currently working on an English co-translation of a Lebanese graphic novel, Murabba wa Laban by Lena Merhej, an extract of which recently appeared in literary arts publication The Markaz Review. She is also a copy editor for Asymptote, one of the leading online journals of literature in translation. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of St Andrews in Modern Languages (Arabic and Spanish) and International Relations and a Masters in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Edinburgh.
Dawid Mobolaji is a Polish-Nigerian writer and translator based in London, England. Born and raised by the seasides of West Pomerania, he works between English and native Polish. His first project, currently looking for publication in Poland, tackled translating selected works by award-winning English poet Andrew McMillan. Previously, he has written reviews and short fiction for Era (formerly known as Savage) at University College London as well as poems printed in small college pamphlets. He currently lives and works as a hospital doctor in a small but busy hospital in London. Outside translation work, he is currently working on a literary suspense novel.
Arthur Reiji Morris is a translator of Japanese literature, manga, and video games. Born in London, he graduated from the University of Leeds in 2015, before moving to Tokyo. When he’s not translating, Arthur enjoys writing music and practicing Japanese calligraphy. He returned to the UK in 2019 and is now based in London. He is the translator of Li Kotomi’s Solo Dance (World Editions, 2022).
Anam Zafar was the Visible Communities Emerging Translators mentee. She translates from Arabic and French into English, and this was her first residency. She believes that problems arise when we speak about people rather than listening to what those people have to say for themselves. Through literary translation, she wants to be a conduit for voices that need to be heard, harnessing the power of storytelling to counter misunderstandings and sensationalism surrounding migration, Islam and the Middle East. During the residency, Anam worked on her translation of Me, My Friend and the Donkey, a young adult novel by Palestinian writer Mahmoud Shukair (2016), and In the Tenderness of War, a non-fiction collection by Syrian writer Najat Abed Alsamad (2015). Anam’s Visible Communities residency took place in May 2021.
Rabi Thapa is a writer, editor and translator from Nepal, now working from London. He is the founder Editor of La.Lit (www.lalitmag.com), and the author of Thamel, Dark Star of Kathmandu (Speaking Tiger Books). For Visible Communities, Rabi worked on translating from Nepali to English Boni (1991) by the pioneering feminist writer Parijat (1937-1993). Boni is a series of missives from the author to a young girl on how she might live her life, and it is hoped an English-language version will help address the paucity of translated works from Nepal, particularly by minority women writers. Rabi’s Visible Communities residency took place in June 2021.
Encouraged by a succession of brilliant language teachers, Derek Barretto thrives on a literary reading diet of English, Lusophone and occasionally Francophone fiction and non-fiction. A would-be literary translator looking to specialize in translation of Lusophone fiction and poetry, he has a keen interest in conveying the richness and variety of Portuguese literature to Anglophone readers. During his residency, Derek worked on a translation of Madrugada Fria by Laura DaSilva, a contemporary Portuguese poet. Derek’s Visible Communities residency took place in June 2021.
Born in Bangladesh, Shagufta Sharmeen Tania initially trained as an architect. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in the Bengali-speaking areas of both Bangladesh and India. To date, she has authored two novels, a compilation of novellas and four short story collections. She also translated Susan Fletcher’s Whitbread award-winning novel Eve Green and Antonio Skarmeta’s Burning Patience, from English to Bengali. Her work has appeared in Wasafiri (‘This Gift of Silver’, Issue 84, 2015), Asia Literary Review (‘Notes from the Ward’, Issue 32, 2016), City Press (‘Letters to Her’, Issue 7, 2019) and Not Quite Right for Us (‘Bodies’, 2021 anthology by Speaking Volumes). Currently, she is working on a novel set during the initial years of war-torn Bangladesh, and a fictionalised biography of a celebrated musicologist of Tagore songs. Shagufta was the recipient of the 2018 Bangla Academy Syed Waliullah Award for her contribution to Bengali Literature and she is longlisted for the 2021 BBC Short Story Competition. Shagufta’s Visible Communities residency took place in November 2021.
Yvette Siegert is a Latinx poet, translator, and critic. She is the author of Atmospheric Ghost Lights, selected by Monica Youn for the 2021 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. She has received support and mentorship from CantoMundo, Macondo, Bread Loaf, Community of Writers, Ledbury Poetry Critics, the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Council England, and the Visible Communities programme at the National Centre for Writing. Her translation of Chantal Maillard’s Killing Plato (New Directions) was shortlisted for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and her translations of Alejandra Pizarnik’s later work, Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962–1972 (New Directions), won the Best Translated Book Award. She is completing a doctorate in Spanish American literature at Merton College, Oxford. Yvette’s Visible Communities residency took place in December 2021.