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Scotland Street Press wins Pen Award – Scottish Review of Books
by SRB

Scotland Street Press wins Pen Award

June 18, 2019 | by SRB

Edinburgh based publisher Scotland Street Press has won a major award to translate Alinarka’s Children by Alhierd Bacharevic.

The Scotland Street Press winner sits amongst books from sixteen countries and in eleven languages making up the list of recipients of PEN Translates awards announced today. They include fiction and non-fiction, poetry, short stories and children’s literature.

Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager at PEN commented on the list,

These awards go to seventeen books of outstanding merit and courage. In a moment where the movement of art and ideas across borders is being challenged, translation is a vital corrective. We are thrilled that PEN Translates continues to contribute to literary accessibility and internationalism, and to ensure translators are paid properly for their work. We’re excited that the UK public will get to read these important books.’

ANd Sarah Ardizzone, co chair of the writers in translation committee at PEN, added,

‘The depth of field for these PEN Translates awards is breathtaking – from a hard-hitting memoir by a young Rohingya man, to a poignant children’s illustrated work from Slovenia, via a zany exposé of colonised language in a Belarusian novel.’

The full list of titles celebrated in today’s awards;

  • Alinarka’s Children by Alhierd Bacharevic, translated from the Belarusian by Jim Dingley. Scotland Street Press, June 2020. Country of origin: Belarus.
  • God 99 by Hassan Blasim, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright. Comma Press, May 2020. Country of origin: Iraq.
  • Crossroads and Lampposts by Trn Dn, translated from the Vietnamese by David Payne. Oneworld Books, September 2020. Country of origin: Vietnam.
  • Exodus by Benjamin Fondane, translated from the French by Henry King and Andrew Rubens. Carcanet Press, Autumn 2019. Country of origin: Romania.
  • Chaophony by Franketienne, translated from the French by Andres Naffis-Sahely. Carcanet Press, Autumn 2019. Country of origin: Haiti.
  • First They Erased Our Names: A Rohingya Speaks by Habiburahman and Sophie Ansel, translated from the French by Andrea Reece. Scribe, August 2019. Country of origin: Australia/Myanmar.
  • Lake Like A Mirror by Ho Sok Fong, translated from the Chinese by Natascha Bruce. Granta Books, January 2010. Country of origin: Malaysia.
  • A Little Body Are Many Parts by Legna Rodriguez Iglesias, translated from the Spanish by Abigail Parry and Serafina Vick. The Poetry Translation Centre, October 2019. Country of origin: Cuba.
  • Theatre of War by Andrea Jeftanovic, translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead. Charco Press, January 2020. Country of origin: Chile.
  • Felix and His Suitcase by Dunja Jogan, translated from the Slovenian by Olivia Hellewell. Tiny Owl, May 2020. Country of origin: Slovenia.
  • The Past Is an Imperfect Tense by Bernardo Kucinski, translated from the Portuguese by Tom Gatehouse. Latin American Bureau, November 2019. Country of origin: Brazil.
  • Loop by Brenda Lozano, translated from the Spanish by Annie McDermott. Charco Press, November 2019. Country of origin: Mexico.
  • Holiday Heart by Margarita Garcia Robayo, translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Coombe. Charco Press, May 2020. Country of origin: Colombia.
  • The Town with the Acacia Tree by Mihail Sebastian, translated from the Romanian by Gabi Reigh. Aurora Metro, September 2019. Country of origin: Romania.
  • Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from the Arabic by EliSabeth Jaquette. Fitzcarraldo Editions, May 2020. Country of origin: Germany/Palestine.
  • Yezet by various, translated from the Burmese by Alfred Birnbaum. Strangers Press, November 2019. Country of origin: Myanmar.
  • Hard Like Water by Yan Lianke, translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas. Chatto & Windus, February 2020. Country of origin: China.

‘Alindarka’s Children’ is a contemporary novel about a brother and sister interned in a camp. Here children are taught to forget their own language and speak the language of the coloniser. This process is aided by the use of drugs as well as surgery on the larynx. One day they escape through a hole cut in the fence, but end up alone in the vast forest. Pursued by the camp leaders, the children are left to fend for themselves in an adventure full of casual violence, which bears a passing likeness to Hansel and Gretel.

‘Alindarka’s Children’ highlights the travesty found in camps in all colonised countries. These children’s camps existed in Australia and North America and their aim was to indoctrinate. They exist today in China. Aside from that, the literary quality is experimental in a way that we have never seen in this country. The linguistic variety in the dialogue translates well to the guttural differences between English Received Pronunciation and Scots. The Russian will become RP and the Belarusian Scots.

The translator is Jim Dingley, Belarusian translator of “A Large Czeslaw Milosz with a Dash of Elvis Presly”, and for the Scots, Petra Reid, author of Macsonnetries.



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