Translators' House Wales
Chris Meredith Wins International Scholarship
Dispatches from Jyväskylä: Read Christopher Meredith's latest dispatches from Jyväskylä here.
The Welsh poet and novelist Chris Meredith, has been awarded the Translators’ House Wales/HALMA international scholarship for 2012/2013. He will spend two separate month-long writing residencies abroad, supported by the HALMA network of literary houses – the first in Finland at the end of October and the second in Slovenia in the New Year.
The scholarship stems from Translators’ House Wales/Tŷ Cyfieithu Cymru’s membership of HALMA, which connects and co-ordinates 27 literature and translation centres across Europe. The first residency is at an art nouveau wooden writers and translators’ house in Jyväskyla in the north of Finland while Chris will travel to Novo Mesto in Slovenia in January for the second residency where he will be hosted by Goga publishers
Chris Meredith has won a number of awards for his writing, including an Eric Gregory Award, the Arts Council of Wales Young Writer Prize and the Fiction Prize for his first novel, Shifts. His fourth novel, The Book of Idiots, was published this year by Seren Books and has been selected by Wales Literature Exchange for its 2012/2013 Bookcase.
Born and brought up in Tredegar, Chris has been a steelworker, a schoolteacher and now teaches creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. He has published three volumes of poetry, four novels and is also a literary translator.
Chris says: ?“Winning the HALMA scholarship is a great honour, but much more than that it’s a chance for me to learn and to grow as a writer. I intend to work on poems and fictions with their feet in the earth of my own home patch, but also to work with whatever unexpected things present themselves to me in these two countries.”
Living in Brecon, one of Chris’ recent projects was a series of commissioned poems about the eroding peat on the Black Mountains as part of the Bog~Mawnog exhibition. He hopes to spend time further develop this work for publication during his forthcoming residencies abroad.
Speaking on behalf of Tranlators’ House Wales, Dr Sioned Puw Rowlands says:
“Giving writers the chance to work in a different cultural environment can be highly rewarding. It forces the writer to look at his or her work in a very different way. Writing residencies abroad – either for Welsh writers travelling there or foreign writers coming to work in Wales – was part of the original vision for Translators’ House Wales when Wales Literature Exchange and Ty Newydd established the partnership in 2009. Previous scholarship holders include Siân Melangell Dafydd and Tristan Hughes in 2011. ”
Later this year, Translator’s House Wales will be welcoming Finnish poet, Harry Salmeniemi, to Tŷ Newydd – Wales’ National Writers’ Centre, also as part of the HALMA programme.
For media enquiries:
Manon Edwards Ahir, Mela Media,
Communications for Wales Literature Exchange
02920 229993/07711 095470 email@example.com
North Wales International Poetry Festival
October 1st – 7th
9 International poets join Welsh poets in a weekend of events in Bangor, Machynlleth, Aberystwyth and Mold
Angharad Tomos wins Translation Challenge 2012
Mererid Hopwood, Angharad Tomos and Jane Hutt
The well-known novelist, Angharad Tomos, was named winner of the Translation Challenge 2012 in a ceremony held in Aberystwyth University's tent during the Bro Morgannwg National Eisteddfod. The Finance Minister and local AM, Jane Hutt, awarded Angharad with a special staff for her winning entry. More information to be had here.
Translation Challenge 2012
Translating the Indian imagination into Welsh
The Challenge this year is to translate from English, into Welsh, an extract
from a novel for children by Mumbai author, Sampurna Chattarji. Mulla
Nasruddin is a novel written in English for children between 9-11, published
by Puffin, Penguin Books India in 2008.
Mulla Nasruddin is the story of Shashank, a 13 year old boy who lives in
Mumbai. He lost his father in the terrorist bombing of 7/11 in the city. One
day, he is visited by Mulla Nasruddin, the Middle Eastern jester well-known
for his sharp wit. This is the beginning of an unconventional friendship and a
series of stories that challenge the imagination.
Sampurna Chattarji was born in Africa, grew up in Darjeeling, went to college
in New Delhi and worked for seven years in advertising in Kolkata and
Mumbai before becoming a full-time writer. Her collection of stories, The
Greatest Stories Ever Told, and her translation of Sukumar Ray’s poetry and
prose, Abol Tabol: The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray, are both published
by Puffin. She has also written poetry and fiction for adults. Her work has
been translated into a number of languages, including Welsh, with
translations forthcoming in a special volume by the Writers’ Chain poets to
be published in 2013.
The judge this year is the Chief Bard, Mererid Hopwood. Mererid has herself
worked closely with Sampurna Chattarji on translations of her poetry and
prose. More recently, both participated in a children’s literature translation
workshop organized by Wales Literature Exchange as part of the Translators’
House Wales programme of activity, in partnership with Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru.
How to apply
To receive a copy of the text for translation, please email Sioned Puw
Rowlands at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your translation should be sent to Sioned Puw Rowlands at
email@example.com by midnight on the 16th of July, 2012.
Your name and contact details should be included in the email but should
not appear in the translation text file.
Fall – In Poetry 2012
Nicosia 4 January 2012
We are two cultural organisations, Ideogramma and Sidestreets, each based on either side of the divided city of Nicosia, and with this letter we are inviting you to participate in a new project of ours titled Fall-in Poetry, as one of 100 writers whose work will fall from the sky on Nicosia, over Arasta / Ledra Street, which is divided into two at a checkpoint that divides the city in two.
Ideogramma is a non-profit organisation established in 2006. It stages poetry events every year in March, and in 2009 and 2010 has run a European Culture 2007–2013 programme with six events in four European countries. Last October it started a new project, on literature again with the objective of establishing the island of Cyprus a literary destination. Ideogramma is run by Nora Hadjisotiriou (marketing & pr consultant, event organiser, administrator) and Lily Michaelides (poet and writer, event organiser)
Sidestreets is an educational and cultural initiative established in 2007. Sidestreets organises both national and international artistic, cultural and educational programs including exhibitions, poetry readings, seminars, film series, awareness-raising programs and general culture courses. Sidestreets is housed in a modern five-story building in the old town of Nicosia and is equipped with spaces and facilities for cultural events. Dr. Johann Pillai (educational programs) and Anber Onar (cultural programs) are the cofounders and directors of the programs in the initiative.
Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is the last divided city in Europe
On a Wednesday (on 16 or 23 May 2012) 100,000 poems will be dropped from the sky (from a UN helicopter!) over Arasta / Ledra Street in the center of the old town of Nicosia.
The audience will be encouraged to pick up these poems, read them, and put them on boards placed all along the street. At the same time, members of the general public will be invited to read aloud a poem that has ‘touched / spoken to’ them.
During this friendly, peaceful and happy intermingling of people there will be music, visual art, projections, and other artistic and cultural activites.
The poems that the editing committee will have selected to be included in the Fall-in Poetry project will be printed on biodegradable paper.
The event will be shown live on local and other TV stations and one may follow it on the net as well.
•You are invited to send one or two poems
•The subject of the poems should fall under the categories of peace, coexistence, understanding, respect, etc
•The original language of the poem will be respected, but we request that the poems you send are also accompanied by a translation into one or more of the island’s most spoken languages; Armenian, and / or English and / or Greek and / or Turkish
•With your poem(s), please also send us a short CV (in English) of not more than 2 - 3 lines and a photograph. All the participating poets will have their biography and photo projected on walls.
Please forward this invitation to all of your relevant contacts.
A secondary objective of this event is to reach as many people as possible, not only so that on the day they can log on and follow the event, but also so that we can measure the reach. For this reason, we would greatly appreciate it if you could inform us of:
•the number of people you have sent this invitation to
•as well as their countries
Looking forward to hearing from you,
With very warm regards,
Anber, Johann, Lily, Nora
PS. If you happen to be in Cyprus during the Fall-in Poetry event, we shall love to see you and of course have you read your own poems.
Indian Poets Come to Exchange Words in Wales
Poetry from India will find a new Welsh voice later this month at the start of a unique collaboration between Indian and Welsh poets.
The British Council’s Writers’ Chain project brings together eight renowned poets - four working in Welsh and four in a range of Indian languages, for an exciting scheme organised by Wales Literature Exchange.
Welsh poets Menna Elfyn, Eurig Salisbury, Hywel Griffiths, Karen Owen will spend a week collaborating with four Indian poets: the Keralan literary legend K. Satchidanandan, the radical and outspoken young poet Meena Kandasamy, Mumbai-based Bengali poet Sampurna Chattarji and Robin Ngangom - a poet and editor from North East India.
Between June 24th – 30th, 2011 the poets will be based at Tŷ Newydd, working on translations that will see Welsh poetry travel into Bengali, Malayalam, Manipuri and Tamil. In turn the Welsh writers will introduce for the first time ever a colourful seam of contemporary Indian poetry into the Welsh language and a new audience here in Wales.
The public will also get the chance to hear from the visiting poets at special events during the week.
In Bangor an evening reading will be held at the Blue Sky Cafe on Sunday 26th June where the poets will perform their work in progress and talk about the literary alchemy of translation.
On Wednesday 29th June, poetry lovers in Aberystwyth will be able to take part in a dinner in which they can enjoy an innovative performance of poetry, movement and language by the Indian and Welsh poets and introduced by poet and writer, Nigel Jenkins, while enjoying the food at the renowned Ultracomida.
This project marks a growing relationship between Indian and Welsh literature with many contemporary Welsh works translated in India in a variety of languages, thanks to the bridge-building work done by the Wales Literature Exchange.
This event is part of the British Council’s Writers’ Chain project, organised by Wales Literature Exchange as part of Translators' House Wales's programme of activity, in partnership with Literature Across Frontiers, Wales Arts International and British Council Wales, with the generous support of the Welsh Government and Literature Wales.
Sioned Puw Rowlands, Director of Wales Literature Exchange says:
“The Writers’ Chain project fosters relationships between the Welsh and Indian literary scene. We have already made progress with the forthcoming release this autumn at the Hay festival in Kerala of three anthologies of Welsh short fiction in Tamil, Bengali and Malayalam. This phase of the project will bring to light for Welsh audiences the poetic trends and literary revolutions that are currently taking place all over the Indian sub-continent.
We’re also continuing the work of helping both emerging and established Welsh writers get their works translated into the languages of one of the fastest growing publishing markets in the world.”
Projecting Wales – Rediscovering Russia
Wales Literature Exchange is hosting a one day seminar at Aberystwyth University on Friday the 15th of April: Projecting Wales – Rediscovering Russia with Alexandra Borisenko, Viktor Sonkin and Linor Goralik from Moscow and Stevie Davies and Wiliam Owen Roberts from Wales.
Ned Thomas will lead the seminar.
The seminar is organised as part of Translators’ House Wales’s programme of work with support from the British Council and Academia Rossica as part of the Russian Market Focus 2011 cultural programme at the London Book Fair.
The world-wide fame of nineteenth-century classics - Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Tchekhov - and the attention paid in the West to dissident writing of the late Soviet period may give the impression that we all know our Russian literature, but the spectrum of Russian writing is historically much wider than is generally recognized here. Knowledge of contemporary Russian literature is more or less limited to specialists, and there are fewer of those following the decline of Russian studies in British universities.
In the universities of Wales there are currently no degree level courses in Russian language and literature. Literary translation has long been an important part of Russian literary culture, undertaken by the very best literary talents. That culture is also remarkable for the range of languages (including smaller languages) from which translation into Russian has taken place.
All this, taken together with the focus on Russia in this year's London Book Fair, provides the background to this one-day event organized by Wales Literature Exchange. We hope it may awaken or reawaken interest in Russian literature, and at the same time introduce our literature in both Welsh and English to writers, translators and publishers in Russia.
English will be the vehicular language of the day but writing originally in Russian, Welsh and English will be presented and discussed. Very few participants will have a knowledge of all three languages, so do not think of this as an occasion for specialists in one of these languages. The occasion has a more general aim – the development of a more active literary translation culture across a wide range of languages here in Wales. We believe the seminar will interest not only those with an interest in Russian literature but literary translators of all kinds, writers, publishers, as well as those involved in translation studies, whatever their specific language specialisms.
To close the seminar dinner will be held at Ultracomida restaurant in Aberystwyth with readings by Linor Goralik (from Russia and the Ukraine) and Welsh writer Wiliam Owen Roberts.
For more details see the British Council's website also http://www.britishcouncil.org/arts-literature-londonbookfair.htm
Price for daytime attendance only (including coffee and buffet lunch): £10
Price for evening attendance only (including evening meal): £20
Price for attending both during the day and during the evening (including all meals): £25
If you would like to attend please let us know whether you will be attending the day only, the evening only or whether you will be attending both the daytime and evening events. You will also need to let us know of any special dietary requirements that you may have.
RSVP by Thursday 31st March to Catrin Ashton, Wales Literature Exchange: 01970 622544 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Announcing the English Winner of the 2010 Translation Challenge
A commercial translator who turned her hand to fiction has won the 2010 Translation Challenge which was jointly organised this year by Translators' House Wales and Oxfam Cymru.
In a special ceremony at Tŷ Newydd, Alison Layland from Llangynog in Montgomeryshire, was announced as the English winner of this year's challenge.
During the ceremony, held on Saturday September 4, 2010 as part of the centre's 21st anniversary celebrations, Alison was presented with the 2010 Bardic Staff by the Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones AM.
She was one of thirty-six entrants for the competition to translate from French an extract from the short story, La folie était venue avec la pluie, by Haitian author, Yanick Lahens.
The judges for the competition, the author Patrick McGuiness and the dramatist, Gareth Miles, said the standard of entries this year had been very high.
Alison, who is a professional commercial translator, says she was delighted but surprised to win a literary competition although she writes creatively herself. She was drawn to the subject matter of Haiti and was inspired by the original author's writing."I knew little about Yanick Lahens before I begun on the task but her work is wonderful - she writes about Haiti's problems so directly and honestly - her writing is atmospheric and her characters strong. Translating literature gives me the chance to enter worlds and situations unknown to me."
The Translation Challenge was launched in 2009 by Translators' House Wales to promote and celebrate the valuable contribution made by translators to the promotion of Welsh literature abroad.
Tŷ Newydd's Director, Sally Baker, said, "We are absolutely delighted that Alison has won this year's challenge . She has been to Tŷ Newydd on courses many times and is without doubt a very worthy winner."
In receiving her prize Alison said that it would inspire her to concentrate further on translating literature in her spare time.
The Welsh winner of the Challenge, Marged Haycock, was announced during the 2010 Blaenau Gwent National Eisteddfod in August. Competitors could either choose to translate from the original French into either Welsh or English.
As part of their prize both Alison and Marged will be commissioned to translate Yanick Lahen's story in its entirety - one to English and the other to Welsh.
Click here to view Alison's translation.
HALMA: Latvian Poetry Days and panel discussion on Europe with young authors. Click here to view Press Release.
Welsh lecturer wins 2010 Translation Challenge
In a special ceremony on the Blaenau Gwent National Eisteddfod field, Marged Haycock was announced as the winner of the 2010 Challenge. She was one of thirty-six entrants for the competition to translate from French an extract from the short story, La folie était venue avec la pluie, by Haitian author, Yanick Lahens.
Marged was presented with the 2010 Bardic Staff by the Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones AM, during the ceremony in the Aberystwyth University tent on the Eisteddfod field on Thursday, August 5th 2010.
The text for the competition was in marked contrast to the Medieval Welsh literature Marged usually studies and teaches but says she decided to enter as she was interested in Haiti's plight and was drawn to the author herself - Yanick Lahens - as she could relate to her as a fellow female academic.
Author, Patrick McGuiness, and dramatist, Gareth Miles, were the judges for the competition and as he gave the adjudication at Thursday's ceremony Mr Miles said the standard of entries had been very high.
"The winning entry had succeeded best in combining precision with a reflection of the mood and sensuousness of the original text. I particularly enjoyed the story and I hope that soon, we will have a worthy Welsh translation of it".
Dr Sioned Puw Rowlands, said, "The response this year has been very encouraging. We've come to learn of many talented translators of which we were previously unaware."
In receiving the prize, Marged Haycock said,
"The subject chosen for the Challenge was inspiring. I felt it was worth translating. Even before the earthquake there, Haiti was such a poor country, completely destroyed and Yanick Lahens succeeds in creating the mood and fear amongst some of its inhabitants there so vividly - her work is exhilarating."
The English winner of the Challenge will be announced on September 4th during the "21" Festival at Tŷ Newydd - a festival of literary events to celebrate Ty Newydd's 21'st anniversary.
As part of their prize the winners of the Translation Challenge will be commissioned to translate Yanick Lahen's story in its entirety.
Click here to view Marged's translation.
Translators House Wales 2010 Translation Challenge
Below is the extract set as Translators House Wales 2010 Translation Challenge. The extract comes from the short story, La folie était venue avec la pluie by Yanick Lahens originally written in French.
The challenge was to translate the extract from French into English or Welsh.
La folie était venue avec la pluie
by Yanick Lahens
Août touchait à sa fin. Mon enfance aussi mais je ne le savais pas encore. Dès le commencement de l'après-midi, les nuages, comme un cortège d'anges maléfiques, avaient obscurci le ciel, aiguisant les colères, réveillant les soifs, les faims et la méchanceté des hommes. Et depuis que le corps de Mervilus avait été trouvé la veille dans une ravine non loin du quartier des Dalles, la folie comme la mort, comme l'enfance arrachée, était venue avec la pluie. Très vite les rues furent inondées par ces averses qui s'abattent toujours en cette saison et nous retournent l'âme comme une terre à labourer sans merci.
Quatre hommes avaient porté sur leurs épaules, en direction de la maison de Désilia, le cadavre de Mervilus recouvert d'un drap blanc. Ils avançaient péniblement comme un tap-tap qui se serait enlisé ou un navire qui tanguerait sous les assauts du vent. Leurs jambes s'enfonçaient dans la boue et ils hurlaient leur colère, la pluie frappait leur torse nu de ses lanières acérées et ils rugissaient encore plus fort. Tenant Jonas, mon jeune frère par la main et courant à en perdre le souffle, je rattrapai ma mère autour de cet équipage fougueux, mêlant ma voix aux gémissements des femmes, à la stridence de leurs cris, aux hurlements des hommes. La nouvelle était arrivée jusqu'à Désilia qui rejoignit le cortège à mi-chemin. Quand l'un des hommes souleva le drap, Désilia poussa le long cri plaintif d'un animal qu'on égorge. Les yeux révulsés, agitant les bras de droite à gauche, elle déchira ses vêtements et courut dans tous les sens, faisant gicler sur son passage l'eau des mares entre les cases. Très vite Boss Charles et Rameau la rattrapèrent de leurs bras robustes. Épuisée, Désilia se laissa encercler et nouer comme une bête en captivité. Aidée d'Espérance et de Nerlande, ma mère entoura ensuite la taille de Désilia, d'un grand mouchoir. Question d'aider la douleur, là dans ses flancs, à faire son temps et son nid comme on porte un enfant.
On installa le corps dans l'une des deux pièces de la case puis, comme le veut la coutume, on recouvrit l'unique miroir d'une pâte d'amidon pour enlever à Mervilus toute envie de surgir de cette surface lisse pour venir troubler le repos et le sommeil des vivants. Espérance s'occupa de la toilette du mort et ma mère entama les préparatifs du bouillon pour la veillée. Zuléma offrit les abats, Nerlande le malanga et les carottes, Conceptia le cresson et les bananes plantain.
La pluie s'apaisa dès les premières ombres. J'aidai ma mère à préparer le repas, à servir le café à ces hommes rustres, ces hommes de désir et de privation qui posaient sur moi leur regard de fièvre comme s'ils cherchaient des pistes de feu. Jonas ne tenait plus en place, la journée avait été longue. Il jouait encore pieds nus dans les flaques d'eau à l'entrée de la maison de Désilia. Et bientôt, me tirant par le bras, il réclama vivement ces images brillantes et dures que, dans la lumière déclinante du jour, je prends plaisir à convoquer pour lui. Rien que pour lui. Et qui à force, étaient devenues comme sacrées. Celles des algues phosphorescentes, des cohortes d'anges et de lutins, des sentiers aux senteurs de goyaves, de blessures tracées dans l'os par la pointe d'un coutelas, d'ogres se rassasiant de chairs d'enfants et de crépuscules mauves.
Après le repas, les hommes se partagèrent trois bouteilles de rhum et d'autres alcools, du trempé d'anis et de cerise et jouèrent aux dominos toute la nuit. Trouant la mélopée dont les femmes, lèvres serrées, âme cousue, enveloppaient la nuit, les hommes évoquèrent à tour de rôle les souvenirs du défunt. Mervilus était parti marauder dans les quartiers du haut de la ville et il n'avait pas eu de chance. Baptiste parla plus que les autres. Baptiste a toujours admiré Mervilus, bien plus jeune que lui, qui possédait une arme et arrivait à faire vivre Désilia et son fils Kesnel mieux que toutes les femmes et tous les enfants du quartier. Sans compter Mimose qui travaille chez un couple de médecins à Péguy-Ville, dans une villa cachée derrière de hauts murs, enfouie sous d'épaisses bougainvillées. Baptiste n'avait jamais osé l'accompagner dans ses tournées. Mais Mervilus savait comment les faire rêver, lui et les autres.
Mervilus militait au parti des Démunis. Des militants du parti étaient venus un après-midi jusqu'à notre quartier dans un grand tumulte de voix. Elles étaient aussi fortes que celles qui éclataient au carnaval ou dans les sermons des Adventistes du Septième Jour. Ce jour-là ma mère et moi revenions à peine du marché. Je la vis poser son panier sur le seuil de la maison et rejoindre, au bout de la rue, le groupe des hommes et des femmes qui discutaient avec animation comme si leur vie en dépendait. Agglutinés contre les deux camionnettes des hommes du parti des Démunis, nous buvions les paroles des orateurs qui nous décrivaient un bonheur d'une rare extravagance, celui que les riches ne nous avaient jamais laissé entrevoir. Les mots puissants, magiques firent fondre en un instant notre épaisse carapace de doutes et de méfiance. Et bientôt l'agitation gagna aussi les enfants. Au son d'une musique nasillarde et frénétique, improvisée pour la circonstance, Jonas et moi nous nous déhanchâmes avec les autres, bien au-delà du départ des militants. La vie avait ce jour-là un goût d'eau fraîche et d'étoiles.
C'était il y a deux ans déjà. Depuis, à en croire Boss Charles, le parti des Démunis était devenu cinq fois plus riche que l'ensemble des partis des Riches. Et puis il y avait la mort de Mervilus qui était venue tout changer.
To see how this extract sits within the rest of the short story, click on the following link and read the whole short story:
2010 Translation Challenge Launch at Hay
Translators’ House Wales launches its latest Translation Challenge at the 2010 Hay Festival.
The event will be held at 11.30 Thursday 3 June o