British Centre for Literary Translation

The British Centre for Literary Translation was founded in 1989 by the late W.G. Sebald for the support of literary translation. The research centre sits within the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. They support an MA in Literary Translation, a variety of undergraduate modules in the subject, and an extensive programme of PhD research.

The BCLT also works in close partnership with the National Centre for Writing and a wide range of other national and international organisations to deliver a programme of activities which support the professional development of literary translators and promote the recognition of literary translation as a profession. These include literary translation workshops, research seminars, the annual Sebald Lecture on Literary Translation, usually held in the spring at the British Library, and the International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School.

International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School

The International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School brings together writers and translators from around the world for an intensive programme of hands-on translation and creative writing practice. The week-long event takes place every year in July and is delivered by the BCLT in partnership with the National Centre for Writing. The core activity of the week is the literary translation workshops, led by experienced literary translators, working from a range of languages into English. As well as language-specific workshops there are also multilingual workshops for translators translating from any language into English. 

The Summer School will be taking place online again in 2021 – Monday 19th – Friday 23rd July. Applications will open in January 2021.

You can watch short talks and panels from 2020 BCLT Summer School on the BCLT YouTube channel.

Sebald Lecture in Literary Translation

Every year the BCLT, in partnership with the National Centre for Writing, invites a renowned writer or translator to give the W.G. Sebald Lecture on Literary Translation at the British Library. Past speakers have included David Bellos, Emily Wilson, Arundhati Roy and Margaret Atwood. You can watch past lectures on the BCLT YouTube channel.

Translators in Residence

BCLT hosts a Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow annually and applications open in January.  The BCLT also considers other residencies on an individual basis so it is worth getting in touch to enquire.

To celebrate BCLT’s 30th Anniversary in 2019/20, the centre launched a new Translator in Residence scheme. The BCLT Translators in Residence will spend 4 months working with the centre. They will spend one day per week working on a specific project that they introduced in their application. They will also work with UEA students, the wider academic community and the public. The inaugural BCLT Translators in Residence are Olivia Hellewell and William Gregory, who will both be joining BCLT from October 2020-January 2021. BCLT would like to make this an ongoing scheme and applications will open again shortly.

MA in Literary Translation

What do Karl Knausgård, Valeria Luiselli and Clarice Lispector have in common with Jo Nesbø, Georg Trakl and Yoko Tawada? They’ve all been translated into English by graduates from the MA Literary Translation at UEA. On this course participants focus exclusively on literary translation, combining translation practice with translation theory. UEA have been training literary translators for twenty-five years. The students have gone on to become award-winning translators, writers, editors and academics. The course is supported by the BCLT.