London Book Fair Opens Today: Arabic Lit and Translation Highlights

The London Book Fair opens today, back in person for the first time since 2019.

Literary-translation-focused events this year emphasize power relationships in translation, with an extra boost for Arabic literature this year, especially Emirati literature, as Sharjah is the year’s “market focus.” Several Arabic-English literary translators are speaking at panel events, including Nariman Youssef, Alice Guthrie, Sawad Hussain, Katharine Halls, and Marilyn Booth. A handful of Emirati writers will also be speaking, including poets Khalid AlBudoor and Afra Atiq, and novelist Dubai Abulhoul.

Below are a few of the highlights. The complete list of events can be found at

Tuesday, April 5

  • The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Translator/Author Relationships
  • Clare Richards. Translator, Kari Dickson, Translator, Nariman Youssef, Literary Translator
  • Literary Translation Centre12:10 – 12:55
  • Translating non-European literatures
  • Olivia Snaije, Journalist, Maithreyi Karnoor, Writer and Translator, Alice Guthrie, Arabic Translator and Editor, Katja Zakrajsek, Slovenian Translator
  • Literary Translation Centre15:25 – 16:10

Wednesday, April 6

  • Pitching and Access: The Pandemic-Era Professions
  • Anton Hur, Translator, Dr. Elena Pala, Translator, Dr. Kavita Bhanot, Writer, Researcher, Editor, Translator, Literaturemustfall, Nichola Smalley, Publicity Director / Translator, And Other Stories
  • Literary Translation Centre10:00 – 10:45
  • Computer-assisted literary translation
  • Professor Duncan Large, Academic Director, British Centre for Literary Translation, Dr. Marion Winters, Senior Lecturer, Heriot-Watt University, Dr. Roy Youdale, Research Associate in Translation Studies, University of Bristol, Gosia Cabaj, Head of Information Services Northwestern Europe, Goethe Institute London
  • Literary Translation Centre11:05 – 11:50
  • Questioning neutrality
  • Ayesha Siddqi, Writer, Sawad Hussain, Arabic Translator, Eluned Gramich, Writer and Translator, National Library of Wales, Lúcia Collischonn, PhD Candidate and Literary Translator, University of Warwick
  • Literary Translation Centre13:15 – 14:00
  • The Knowledge Gap – what is lost when we don’t translate?
  • Erica Hesketh, Chief Executive, Poetry Translation Centre, Diana Bellessi, Author, Leo Boix, Poet and Translator
  • Literary Translation Centre15:25 – 16:10
  • Pitching and Access: New Opportunities
  • Dr. Kavita Bhanot, Writer, Researcher, Editor, Translator, Literaturemustfall, Gersy Ifeanyi Ejimofo, Founder, DAS Editions | DBB Afropolitan Digital Limited, Lisette Verhagen, Literary Agent, Peters Fraser + Dunlop, Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager, English PEN
  • Literary Translation Centre16:30 – 17:15
  • Emirati Women Writers, Shaping the Country’s Literary Scene
  • Dr. Afra Atiq, Emirati Poet, Spoken Word Artist and PhD Candidate, Dubai Abulhoul, Founder, Fiker Institute, Katherine Halls, Arabic-English translator & Agent, 10/11
  • Sharjah Book Authority Stand 7J1111:30 – 12:30

Thursday, April 7

  • Khalid AlBudoor in conversation with Erica Hesketh
  • Khalid Albudoor, Poet
  • English PEN Literary Salon10:30 – 11:15
  • Less translated?: a conversation with BCLT Translators in Residence Sawad Hussain and Laura McGloughlin, hosted by the Less Translated
  • Laura McGloughlin, Literary Translator, Dr. Olivia Hellewell, Translator, Slovene, Sawad Hussain, Arabic Translator
  • Literary Translation Centre11:05 – 11:50
  • Literary translation and book fairs: debate
  • Daniel Hahn, Translator, Writer and Editor, Rachel Stevens, Director Literature, British Council
  • Literary Translation Centre13:15 – 14:00
  • Arabic and English Translation: Trends and Possibilities
  • Nariman Youssef, Literary Translator, H.E. Omar Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation UAE, Will Mackie, Senior Programme Manager, New Writing North, Marilyn Booth
  • Literary Translation Centre14:20 – 15:05