Writers' Centre Norwich were thrilled to announce the eight writers who have gained places on the coveted Emerging Translator Mentoring Programme. The winners were announced at the British Library on Friday 30 September as part of International Translation Day.

The winners are:

  • Jennifer Arnold (Catalan) – paired with mentor Peter Bush
  • Marta Eidsvåg (Norwegian) – paired with mentor Don Bartlett (in conjunction with the Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize)
  • Francisca McNeill (Arabic) – paired with mentor Paul Starkey
  • Somrita Ganguly (Bengali) – paired with mentor Arunava Sinha
  • Scotia Gilroy (Polish) – paired with mentor Antonia Lloyd-Jones
  • Agnel Joseph (Hindi) – paired with mentor Jason Grunebaum
  • Yelena Karl (Russian Drama) – paired with mentor Sasha Dugdale
  • Kate Lambert (Finland Swedish) – paired with mentor Sarah Death.

Announcing the winners, WCN Programme Director Jonathan Morley said: ‘Translation is the lifeblood of English literature. From Chaucer and Shakespeare to George Eliot, Samuel Beckett and TS Eliot, the greatest authors in English have consistently translated foreign literatures to refresh and enhance their own writing in endlessly interesting ways.

'Translation is the lifeblood of English literature'

'We are therefore delighted to be supporting a new cohort of emerging literary translators – their pioneering work will help generate both the new writing and the new readerships of the future.

'Across this year’s eight languages and 85 applications, judging was both a luxury and a torment in that we had to decide between an exceptional range of candidates. The winners’ project proposals and their samples of work-in-progress were, without exception, very strong indeed.

'And this year the fierce competition for Arabic, Bengali and Hindi mentorships in particular clearly demonstrates the impact that the UK’s buzzing translation sector can have on the world stage.’

Emma Langley, Relationship Manager, Literature (International) at Arts Council England, said: ‘We’re pleased to be able to support the Translator Mentorship Programme. Over the past six years we have seen the important role it plays in professional development for emerging literary translators. This mentorship scheme is unique and invaluable in supporting new translators to navigate the practicalities of a career in translation and life in the publishing industry.’

Founded by Daniel Hahn in 2010 and previously administered by the BCLT, the Writers' Centre Norwich Translation Mentoring Programme aims to develop successive new cohorts of literary translators into English, particularly for languages whose literature is currently under-represented in English translation.

The scheme matches up experienced translators with emerging translators 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 mentor acts as an adviser to the mentee on aspects of life as a professional translator; such as time management, meeting deadlines, managing finances and understanding contracts, and as an advocate for their mentee with publishers in search of literary translators.

The evidence of the scheme to date suggests that participation in the scheme represents, in itself, a significant professional development for mentees, with publishers seeing the mentoring cohort as a reliable source of high quality emerging translators. 

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