NCW Emerging Translator Mentorships 2020-2021
The National Centre for Writing is delighted to announce the mentees selected for the 2020-21 Literary Translator Mentorships Programme

The National Centre for Writing is delighted to announce the mentees selected for the 2020-21 Emerging Translator Mentorships Programme.

Every year the programme supports a new cohort of literary translators. The new mentees were announced during an online event, held in partnership with the British Centre for literary Translation, entitled Who is This Mythical English Reader?

Now in its tenth year, the prestigious scheme was founded by writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn and is organised by the National Centre for Writing. It has so far supported 98 translators in 32 languages.

Commenting on the success of the programme Daniel Hahn said:

‘It has played a truly transformative role in these individual careers, and in the world of literary translation in the UK as a whole. From what started with two translators as a pilot, we can now celebrate nearly a hundred translators who’ve been through the programme, and it’s thrilling to look at what they’ve made of their careers in the years since.’

The winners of the 2020-2021 Emerging Literary Translator Mentorships Programme are:

  • Danish – Sharon Rhodes (Mentor: Paul Russell Garrett)
  • Italian – Georgia Wall (Mentor: Howard Curtis)
  • Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize, Japanese – Jesse Kirkwood (Mentor: Polly Barton)
  • Korean – Clare Richards (Mentor: JB Anton Hur)
  • Norwegian – Alice Fletcher (Mentor: Kari Dickson)
  • Polish – Konrad Zielinski (Mentor: Antonia Lloyd-Jones)
  • Russian – Reuben Wooley (Mentor: Robert Chandler)
  • Swiss French –Rosie Eyre (Mentor: Sarah Ardizzone)
  • Visible Communities Mentorship – Anam Zafar (Mentor: Meena Kandasamy)

Each mentee will be matched up with an experienced translator for a six-month period during which they work together on practical translation projects, developing their craft through working on a chosen text or texts.

The winners will go on to join alumni such as Sophie Hughes, whose translation of Alia Trabucco Zerán’s The Remainder was shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.

Sarah Bower, Programme Manager at NCW said:

‘We’re really pleased to support such an exciting new cohort of literary translators. The work of literary translators is too often undervalued in the literary world and this scheme is one way of ensuring that the brilliant work they do for readers and lovers of books attracts the investment it deserves. The translators will get support from some of the most established practitioners in the industry, all of whom are committed to opening up this vital profession to new voices. As part of our Visible Communities Programme focusing on diaspora community languages one mentorship this year has been granted to a translator based in the UK and working from a UK heritage language. Translation puts us at the heart of our own communities as well as reaching out to the world.’

Anam Zafar, who is this year’s Visible Communities Programme mentee said:

‘Through translating novels, I want to give a platform to misunderstood communities to tell their own stories on their own terms.’

Jesse Kirkwood, winner of the Harvill Secker mentorship said:

‘I am absolutely thrilled to be this year’s winner. The world of literary translation, which once seemed distant and inaccessible, has now been brought excitingly within reach, and I am deeply thankful to Harvill Secker and the National Centre for Writing for this opportunity. In a year when many of us have turned inwards during the long months of lockdown, the community and practice of literary translation has offered a kind of solace, as well as the reassuring possibility of hearing and engaging with diverse voices at a time when individuals and nations often seem to be drifting further and further apart. I look forward immensely to being mentored by Polly Barton and spending more time listening to and translating those voice.’

Supported by Arts Council England, The Danish Arts Foundation, The Harvill Secker Young Translators Prize, The Literary Translation Institute of Korea, The Polish Cultural Institute, The Royal Norwegian Embassy, NORLA, The Russian Institute for Literary Translation, The Italian Cultural Institute, Pro-Helvetia and the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities at UCLA and Waseda University.

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