Palestinian Short-story Collection, Syrian Graphic Novel Make ‘Record’ List of PEN Translates Awards

In its press release yesterday announcing the latest list of “PEN Translates” award-winners, the organization boasted a “record number of women authors and translators” — although lest you worry, this only means just above half:

The list includes books translated from 14 languages, from six countries, and promises a “Uyghur memoir, Palestinian short stories, Somali poetry, a Czech feminist novel, an anthology of Russian women literature, Belarusian essays and a Chinese graphic novel.”

The Palestinian short-story collection is by Gazan writer Nayrouz Qarmout, whose “The Sea Cloak” first appeared in the Book of Gaza, ed. Atef Abu Saif. It’s being brought into English by emerging translator Perween Richards. You can see a video of actor Grazyna Monvid reading “The Sea Cloak.”

The collection is forthcoming in March 2018.

Freedom Hospital: A Syrian Story, by Hamid Sulaiman, translated from French by Francesca Barrie, has been widely acclaimed in both Germany and France. According to the publisher:

It is spring 2012 and 40,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian Arab Spring. In the wake of this, Yasmine has set up a clandestine hospital in the north of the country. The town that she lives in is controlled by Assad’s brutal regime, but is relatively stable. However, as the months pass, the situation becomes increasingly complex and violent. Told in stark, beautiful black-and-white imagery, Freedom Hospital illuminates a complicated situation with gut-wrenching detail and very dark humour.

Freedom Hospital is forthcoming in October 2017.

Books are selected for the award “on the basis of outstanding literary quality, strength and innovation of the publishing project, and contribution to literary diversity in the UK.”


The complete list of 2017 PEN Translates award winners

  • The Lime Tree by César Aira, translated from Spanish by Chris Andrews. Published by And Other Stories. November 2017
  • Blood Barrios: Dispatches from the World’s Deadliest Streets by Alberto Arce, translated from Spanish by Daniela Ugaz and John Washington. Published by ZED Books. February 2018
  • The Impostor by Javier Cercas, translated from Spanish by Frank Wynne. Published by Maclehose Press. November 2017
  • Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from German by Susan Bernofsky. Published by Granta Publications.  September 2017
  • Three Plastic Rooms by Petra Hůlová, translated from Czech by Alex Zucker. Published by Jantar Publishing Limited. November 2017
  • The Land Drenched in Tears by Söyüngül Chanisheff, translated from Uyghur by Rahima Mahmut. Published by Hertfordshire Press. November 2017
  • Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf, translated from Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem. Published by And Other Stories. April 2018
  • The Underground Village by Kang Kyeong-ae, translated from Korean by Anton Hur. Published by Honford Star. April 2018
  • Translation as Transhumance by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz. Published by Les Fugitives. November 2017
  • Narrative Poem by Yang Lian, translated from Chinese by Brian Holton. Published by Bloodaxe Books. June 2017
  • Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China by Rao Pingru, translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman. Published by Square Peg. February 2018
  • The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout, translated from Arabic by Perween Richards. Published by Comma Press. November 2017
  • A large Czesław Milosz with a dash of Elvis Presley by Tania Skarynkina, translated from Belarusian by Jim Dingley. Published by Scotland Street Press. October 2017
  • Freedom Hospital: A Syrian Story by Hamid Sulaiman, translated from French by Francesca Barrie. Published by Jonathan Cape. October 2017
  • Slav Sisters: The Dedalus Book of Russian Women Literature by Natalina Perova (ed.), translated from Russian by Robert Chandler, Ilona Chavasse, John Dewey, Boris Dralyuk, Andrew Bromfield English, Jamey Gambrell, Marian Schwartz, Anna Summers, Arch Tait, Joanne Turnbull. Published by Dedalus Limited. January 2018
  • Can You Hear Me? by Elena Varvello, translated from Italian by Alex Valente. Published by Hodder & Stoughton. July 2017
  • The Sea Migrations by Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf, translated from Somali by Clare Pollard, Said Jama Hussein, Maxamed Xasan ‘Alto’. Published by Bloodaxe Books and The Poetry Translation Centre. October 2017
  • 1947 by Elisabeth Åsbrink, translated from Swedish by Fiona Graham. Published by Scribe UK. November 2017