UK Publishers: It’s Time to Submit to ‘PEN Translates!’

English PEN is now accepting submissions to its “PEN Translates!” programme, which offers grants for translation. This fund, launched in 2012, is open to submissions from all UK-based publishers.

headerLogoAs Emma Cleave writes on her “come one, come all” post:

PEN Translates! will fund up to 75% of translation* costs for selected projects. When a publisher’s annual turnover is less than £100,000 we will consider supporting up to 100% of translation costs.

Work from all languages is eligible and it is not essential for publishers to have acquired the rights at the time of application.

Earlier this year, ArabLit interviewed Cleave about what sort of projects PEN supports. She said:

 Of the criteria, the most crucial is Literary Quality and we are also looking for books that speak to the PEN Charter in some way, whether by directly addressing freedom of speech or human rights issues, or by contributing in some way towards inter-cultural understanding. We also ask that publishers submit a strong publicity and marketing plan.

So, in short:

We measure applications to PEN Translates against the following criteria; Literary QualityStrength of the Project and Contributing to Literary Diversity. This funding strand does not ask that books have a link to the PEN Charter, but we are still looking for books of outstanding literary merit. Submissions are independently assessed and then reviewed by an expert panel who select a balanced portfolio of books for support. The panel is currently chaired by English PEN trustee and professional translator, Ros Schwartz.

So, for instance, you might submit Fouad Laroui’s Une année chez les Français (2010), which was listed for the Prix Goncourt, or Najwa Barakat’s لغة السر or Huda Barakat’s ملكوت هذه الأرض or the graphic novel مدينة مجاورة الأرض by Jorj Abu Mhayya. Or something by Mazen Kerbaj!

It’s not entirely clear to me that graphic novels are acceptable, but “fiction (including children’s literature), non-fiction, poetry, prose or plays (for print edition)” definitely are.

In any case, the deadline for submissions will be Friday, June 28.

You can download the Application Form and Guidance for Applicants from the PEN site.

Editor’s note: All bolding is Cleave’s.