Meet present and past Visible Communities virtual translators in residence.
Nadiyah Abdullatif is a Mauritius-born, Scotland-based editor and translator working from Arabic, French, Mauritian Creole and Spanish into English. Her translations of Mauritian literature, comics and graphic novel excerpts have appeared in Wasafiri, ArabLit Quarterly and The Markaz Review. Her latest project, a co-translation of a Lebanese graphic novel titled Yoghurt and Jam (or how my mother became Lebanese) (forthcoming 2023, Balestier Press), received a PEN Translates award. She has previously been a translator-in-residence with the National Centre for Writing and will spend this year’s residency building her work on Mauritian literature and exploring underrepresented languages and genres in translation.
Rabi Thapa is a writer, editor and translator from Nepal, now working out of a village in mid-Wales. 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 is proposing to “translate” the lived experience of the Nepali-origin community in Bannau Brycheiniog through oral histories and media drawn from the community’s activities. He hopes to create a patchwork quilt of the Nepali experience in the region, indicative of how a diaspora can adapt to the circumstances created by a unique colonial history. Rabi also undertook a Visible Communities residency at Dragon Hall in June 2021, during which he worked on a translation of Boni (1991) by the pioneering feminist writer Parijat (1937-1993).
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.
Lydia Hounat is a British-Algerian (Kabyle) writer, photographer and translator from Manchester, England. She translates from French and Taqbaylit into English. She was previously a Writer-in-Residence for Manchester Metropolitan University’s Special Collections’ Archives, with her work appearing in HOBART, MAI Journal: Feminism & Visual Culture, and TOLKA. She is a co-curator for the French and Imazighen poetry collections at Manchester Poetry Library, and is currently collaborating with the Writing Squad’s Writing the Archive project and Poetry Translation Centre’s UNDERTOW.
Vineet Lal is a literary translator from French to English, based in Scotland. In 2010 he was awarded one of the first-ever Mentorships in Literary Translation by the British Centre for Literary Translation, with Sarah Ardizzone, and in 2011 published his first full-length translation, Lacrimosa by Régis Jauffret. His first translated children’s book, Panthera Tigris by Sylvain Alzial and Hélène Rajcak, was published in October 2019 (a co-translation with Sarah Ardizzone) and his translation of The Woman Who Didn’t Grow Old by Grégoire Delacourt came out in February 2020. His translation of The Secret Life of Writers by Guillaume Musso came out in June 2021.
Coco Mbassi was born in Paris, France and originates from Cameroon. By the age of nine, she spoke five languages. She trained as a translator in Paris and in the UK. A lover of all artforms, Coco has toured as a musician for over 30 years, winning several awards and releasing three albums, an innovative musical project and a single. She never gave up on her love of languages and has translated three books in the past five years and written a bilingual illustrated book for children. Coco trained as a scriptwriter for television and theatre and wrote her first musical, Haendel on the Estate; extracts of the musical were performed at Ovalhouse Theatre in London in February 2019, with a full performance of the musical in London in November 2020. She is now writing another musical with her writing partner and plans to do more literary translation work, with a focus on non-standard hybrid language forms from sub-Saharan Africa, such as Pidgins or Camfranglais. She also hopes to complete her first novel by 2023. Website
Born in Bangladesh, Shagufta Sharmeen Tania initially trained as an architect. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in both Bangladesh and India. To date she has authored nine books and translated Susan Fletcher’s Eve Green and Antonio Skarmeta’s Burning Patience, from English to Bengali. Her work has appeared in Wasafiri, Asia Literary Review, City Press and a Speaking Volumes Anthology. She has recently finished working on a Bengali-English translation of her short story collection (for which she received an Arts Council Grant.) Currently, she is working on a fictionalized biography of a celebrated musicologist, a nonfiction based on the changes in cityscapes. Shagufta was the youngest recipient of Bangla Academy Syed Waliullah Award (2018) for outstanding contribution in Bangla literature, and her short story ‘Sincerely Yours’ was long listed for the BBC Short Story Award 2021. About three years ago she wrote a series of retold fairy tales based on Dakshinaranjan Mitra Mazumder’s (like the Grimm Brothers, he was a collector of ancient fairytales of Bengal) collected works, which she self-translated during her virtual residency.
Shash Trevett is a Tamil from Sri Lanka who came to the UK to escape the civil war. She is a poet and a translator of Tamil poetry into English. Her pamphlet From a Borrowed Land (which includes original translations) will be published in 2021 by Smith|Doorstop. She is currently editing (and translating), with Vidyan Ravinthiran and Seni Seneviratne, an anthology of Tamil, English and Sinhala poetry from Sri Lanka and its diaspora communities which will be published by Bloodaxe. Shash’s Visible Communities residency took place between January and April 2021.
Gitanjali Patel is a translator and social researcher. She graduated from Oxford University in Spanish and Portuguese and has been translating from these languages since 2010. She translates in a range of media, from film scripts and radio programmes to fiction, including stories by Luisa Geisler, Miriam Mambrini, Fernanda Torres and, most recently, Evando Nascimento. In 2016 she co-founded Shadow Heroes, an organisation which engages secondary school students in critical thought using the art of translation. Gitanjali’s Visible Communities residency took place between May and August 2021.
Sawad Hussain is an Arabic translator and litterateur who is passionate about bringing narratives from the African continent to wider audiences. Her translations have been recognised by English PEN, the Anglo-Omani Society, the Short Story Day Africa Prize, and the Palestine Book Awards, among others. She has lectured at IAIS at the University of Exeter, taught KS3 & KS4 Arabic in Johannesburg and Dubai, and run workshops introducing translation to students and adults under the auspices of Shadow Heroes, Africa Writes and Shubbak Festival. She holds an MA in Modern Arabic Literature from SOAS. Sawad’s Visible Communities residency took place between May and August 2021.