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Biographies

Baltics workshop (Estonian, Latvian & Lithuanian) 

Workshop leader - Bill Swainson

Bill Swainson is a publisher and editor with forty years experience in independent and mainstream publishing, editing a wide range of writers including Mourid Barghouti, Javier Cercas, Paul Durcan, A. C. Grayling, Dermot Healy, Rachel Holmes, Jaan Kaplinski, David Kynaston, Edward Lucas, Amin Maalouf, Laurie Penny, Jacqueline Rose, Boualem Sansal, Judith Schalansky, W.G. Sebald, Will Self, Juan Gabriel Vásquez and Delphine de Vigan. For fifteen years until 2015 he was Senior Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury and previously worked for the Harvill Press, Fourth Estate, Allison & Busby and John Calder (Publishers) He is currently Editor at Large for Fiction for MacLehose Press and for Non-Fiction at Oneworld Publications. He is also a literary consultant and freelance editor, working with, among others, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Gingko Library/Haus Publishing, The French Institute and Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation in Dublin. He was a literary advisor at the British Centre for Literary Translation at UEA (1990-2), and has been an advisor at the Santa Maddalena Foundation in Italy since it began in 1998. Ltd. In 2015 he was award an OBE for services to literary translation.

Estonian Author - Mihkel Mutt

Mihkel Mutt is an Estonian writer and columnist. He was born in Tartu, Estonia in 1953 to a family of teachers. Mutt studied literature and journalism at the local University of Tartu. He began his career as a theatre and literary critic as well as a parodist, and his literary debut transpired in the late 1970s. Since then, he has published close to 40 books in all genres except poetry and long epic. 

Mutt has translated into his native Estonian authors such as Tom Stoppard and Arnold Wesker, and is a versatile columnist on domestic and world politics. He has held a variety of jobs ranging from journalist to dramaturg to propaganda boss at the Estonian Foreign Ministry, etc. Before retiring in 2016, he was the editor-in-chief of the Estonian literary monthly, Looming. Mutt has recorded extensive memoires about his stormy life, six parts of which have come out in print. He is convinced one should write about the past before Alzheimer’s or something even worse crushes memory to a pulp.

Mutt is considered one of the most provocative Estonian authors – he is a serious conservative filled with playfulness, who unites in his works a proper English sense of humour and core elements of Estonian culture. His earlier novels, plays, and short stories are characterized by a kind of snobbishness, powerful sarcasm, irony, and arrogance à la Huxley.

Now, as a mature author, Mutt has made reporting on history his primary focus – both Estonia’s period of transition from a Soviet republic to the free world, and the ongoing crisis in Europe. Throughout all this, he has not lost his biting irony, nor his hyperbolic wit.

Latvian Author - Inga Ābele 

Inga Ābele (née Ingrīda Ābele, 1972) is a prose writer, poet and playwright. Inga Ābele is the author of four novels and three collections of short stories. She is one of the most important Latvian writers of her generation due to her unique style, which embraces the richness of language and human psychology, as well as variety of contexts – different historical times and current issues. Her prose builds powerful imagery and atmosphere. Her characters are created through deep psychological research into their souls. Inga Ābele can precisely make them resonate with the setting, be it a typical Latvian household, Latvian rural scenery or a factual historical era in the past. Inga Ābele’s short story Ants and Bumblebees was included in the prose anthology Best European Fiction 2010 published by Dalkey Archive Press, the USA. Inga Ābele's novel High Tide has been published in Swedish by Ariel in 2009 and in 2013 in English by Open Letter, the USA. Her novel Fire Will Not Wake You was published in Lithuanian and Danish in 2007, and in Swedish in 2008. Collection of Inga Ābele's short stories Still Life with Pomegranate was published in French by L’Archange Minotaure in 2005. Inga Ābele's collection of poetry The Horses of Atgazene Station has been published in English.

Her play Dark Deer was simultaneously staged in 2001 by two Latvian theatres – the New Riga Theatre and Valmiera Drama Theatre, then at the Stuttgart State Theatre in 2002, the Bonner Biennale, and in Greece in 2008. In 2006 this play was turned into a film. The play Iron Weed/ Dzelzszāle was staged in Latvia, Denmark, and Finland. The play Jasmine was staged in Latvia and in Lucerne. The play School was staged at the National Theatre of Latvia in 2008. And the play Island in 2009 at the New Riga Theatre, the play Aspazija. Personally. at the New Riga Theatre in 2015. Inga Ābele is also the author of the libretto for the musical Leo. Last Bohemia (2010) staged at the National Theatre of Latvia. Inga Ābele is a member of Latvian Writers Union.

Lithuanian Author - Tomas Vaiseta

Tomas Vaiseta (b. 1984) is a historian, writer and editor who lives in Vilnius (Lithuania). He works at Vilnius University, Department of History, and in cultural magazine "Naujasis Židinys-Aidai" as a chief editor. His main fields of interests are social, everyday and cultural history of soviet period, soviet psychiatry, history of sexuality in XXth century. Tomas published historical monograph on soviet everyday life and ideology ("Society of Boredom", 2014), also two fictional books - "Sleep of Birds" (short stories, 2014) and "Orpheus, The Journey Toward and Back" (novel, 2016), both of them were nominated for the Best book of the Year in Lithuania. Now he is working on the study of the history of a psychiatric hospital during the soviet period.

 

German to English

Workshop leader - Katy Derbyshire

Katy Derbyshire is a London-born translator who lives in Berlin. She translates contemporary German writers including Clemens Meyer, Inka Parei, Helene Hegemann and Christa Wolf. Katy was nominated for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, won the 2018 Straelen Translation Award and also judged the International DUBLIN Literary Award. She co-hosts Berlin’s monthly translation lab and bi-monthly Dead Ladies Show and occasionally leads translation workshops. 

Author - Sandra Hoffmann


2016, Copyright: Martin Fengel

Sandra Hoffmann born in 1967, lives as a freelance writer in Munich. She works for the Literaturhaus, teaches creative writing and writes for the radio. She received the Thaddäus Troll Prize for her last novel Was ihm fehlen wird, wenn er tot ist (2012). 
 

Korean to English

Workshop leader - Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith’s translations from the Korean include three books by Han Kang and three by Bae Suah. In 2016 her translation of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian won the Man Booker International Prize and an LTI Korea Award. She also won an Arts Foundation Award for her work as a translator, which includes teaching, mentoring, consultancy and reviewing. In 2015 Deborah founded Tilted Axis, a nonprofit press publishing cult contemporary Asian writing. She studied English at the University of Cambridge and Korean Literature at SOAS. She tweets as @londonkoreanist, but now lives in Sheffield.

Author - Kim Soom

Kim Soom was born in Korea in 1974. Her published works include Noodles, Iron, Liver and Gallbladder, Bed, Your God, Steel, The Shoe, The Women Who Sew and One
She has received the Yi Sang Literary Award, Hyundae Literary Award, Dasan Literary Award, and the Tong-ni Literature Prize.

 

Multilingual Poetry 

Workshop leader - Fiona Sampson

Fiona Sampson MBE is Professor of Poetry at the University of Roehampton and Director of the Roehampton Poetry Centre. She has received a number of national and international awards and published twenty-eight volumes of poetry, criticism and philosophy of language. Her many translations include volumes by Estonian poet Jaan Kaplinski and Israeli poet Amir Or, and her own work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. Recent books include Lyric Cousins: Musical form in poetry (EUP) and The Catch (Penguin Random House, both 2016) and Limestone Country (2017); her biography In Search of Mary Shelley will be published in January. Fiona, who is also an internationally-recognised editor, was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her services to literature.

 

Multilingual Prose

Workshop leader - Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator, with some sixty books to his name. His translations (from Portuguese, Spanish and French) include fiction from Europe, Africa and the Americas, and non-fiction by writers ranging from Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago to Brazilian footballer Pelé. His work has won him the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the International Dublin Literary Award, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize and the LA Times Book Award, among others. A former chair of the Translators Association and the Society of Authors and national programme director of BCLT, he has also been a judge on the panel for the Man Booker International Prize.

 

Persian to English 

Workshop leader - Sara Khalili

Sara Khalili is an editor and translator of contemporary Iranian literature. Her translations include Moon Brow and Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons by Goli Taraghi, The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee, Kissing the Sword by Shahrnush Parsipur, and Rituals of Restlessness by Yaghoub Yadali. 
She has also translated several volumes of poetry by Forough Farrokhzad, Simin Behbahani, Siavash Kasraii, and Fereydoon Moshiri. Her short story translations have appeared in AGNI, The Kenyon Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, EPOCH, GRANTA, Words Without Borders, The Literary Review, and PEN America, among others. 
Sara is a recipient of the PEN Translation Grant Award for her translation of a collection of short stories by Shahriar Mandanipour. 

Author - Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar

Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar, born in 1966, studied dramatic arts at Tehran University, then taught creative writing at Art University and other independent institutions. He published his first work of fiction, a collection of short stories titled The Concert of Forbidden Tars, in 1999, followed by The French Perfume, which won the 2003 Yalda Award for the best collection of short stories. His first novel, Scorpion on the Steps of Andimeshk Train Station, or Blood’s Dripping From This Train, was published in 2006 to great acclaim. The novel received the Golshiri Award and the Mehregan Award for the best novel of the year, as well as the Vaav Award for the year’s most unique novel. scorpion has been translated and published in French, German, Arabic, Kurdish, etc. Abkenar has also written several screenplays, among them for the film No One Knows about Persian Cats, directed by Bahman Ghobadi and awarded the Special Jury Prize Ex-aequo in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. He received a scholarship from Harvard University in 2013–14 and moved to the US. Between 2014 to 2017 he has been a fellow at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute at UNLV.  Abkenar’s books are banned from sale and publication in Iran. 

 

Spanish to English

Workshop leader - Anne McLean

Anne McLean studied history in London, Ontario and literary translation in London, England, and now lives in Toronto, where she translates Latin American and Spanish novels, short stories, travelogues, memoirs, and other writings by authors including Héctor Abad, Isabel Allende, Julio Cortázar, Javier Cercas, Daniel Gascón, Eduardo Halfon, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, Evelio Rosero, Juan Gabriel Vásquez and Enrique Vila-Matas. Over the years her work has been recognized by awards such as the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2004, 2009), the Premio Valle Inclán (2004, 2016) and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. 

Author - Felix Bruzzone

Félix Bruzzone was born in Buenos Aires in 1976. He is a writer, editor, creative writing tutor, who also works as a pool cleaner. In 2005 he co-founded Tamarisco, a small publishing house dedicated to publishing new writers. In 2008 he published the short story collection 76 and the novel Los topos. These publications were followed by the novels Barrefondo (2010) and Las chanchas (2014). In 2017 he published a non-fiction volume, Piletas [Pools]. He has also published the following children's picture books  Julián en el espejo, Julián y el caballo de piedra and Julián es un pulpo. So far his books have been translated into French and German and in 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Anna Seghers Prize (Berlin) which is awarded yearly to a Latin American writer.

 

Plenary Sessions

Canan Marasligil

Canan Marasligil is a writer, literary translator, editor, podcaster and curator based in Amsterdam. Her interest is in challenging official narratives and advocating freedom of expression through a wide range of creative projects and activities, from literature to film and comics. She is the creator of City in Translation, a project exploring languages and translation in urban spaces, and a co-host of the Not Loud Enough podcast, with migrationlab founder Laura M Pana. Canan has worked with cultural organisations across wider Europe and has participated in residencies at the Free Word Centre in London (2013), at WAAW in Senegal (2015), at Copenhagen University (2015), at La Contre Allée in Lille (2017) and at Lancaster University (2018). She is currently writing a book on the act of translation for French publisher La Contre Allée.

Jen Calleja

Jen Calleja is a writer and literary translator from German. She has translated works by Wim Wenders, Gregor Hens, Kerstin Hensel, Michelle Steinbeck and Marion Poschmann, among others, and her translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Literary Hub and the Asymptote blog. She is the inaugural Translator in Residence at the British Library, and formerly Translator in Residence at the Austrian Cultural Forum London. She has recently given or will be giving courses in creative translation for writers and translators at the British Library and The Poetry School and has contributed a chapter on intersemiotic translation to a new book forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan. Her first poetry collection Serious Justice (2016) was published by Test Centre, and will be published in translation by Argentinian publishing house Zindo & Gafuri this summer. She is columnist for translation for the new literary magazine Brixton Review of Books.

Holly Tonks

Holly Tonks is currently the Commissioning Editor on the award-winning Children’s Books list at Tate. She studied at Royal Holloway University, before working as a literary assistant to Hilary Delamere at The Agency (London) Ltd. She then moved to Penguin Random House and worked on Classic brands such as Peter Rabbit, Spot and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She has worked on a wide range of Children’s publishing including fiction, non-fiction, picture books and novelty. She was elected Co-Chair of the Children’s Book Circle in 2017.  

Jacques Testard

Jacques Testard is a co-founder of The White Review and publisher of Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Alex Russell

Alex Russell is an Editor at Vintage, Penguin Random House, where he publishes literary fiction, crime and thrillers, and non-fiction. Authors he has worked with include Caryl Phillips, Anthony Quinn, J.M. Coetzee, Jo Nesbo, Fred Vargas, Édouard Louis and Colin Thubron.

Shaun Whiteside

Shaun Whiteside’s latest translations from French, German and Italian. include Black Water Lilies and Time is a Killer by Michel Bussi, The Temptation to be Happy by Lorenzo Marone, Malacqua by Nicola Pugliese, Blitzed by Norman Ohler and To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann. He has previously translated works by Nietzsche, Freud, Schnitzler and Musil for Penguin Classics. He lives in London.

 

Creative Writing Sessions

Iain Robinson

Iain Robinson’s short stories have appeared in the journals Litro, The Missing Slate, Wales Arts Review, and The Lonely Crowd, as well as in the anthologies Hearing Voices, Being Dad, and Best British Short Stories: 2018. His novel, The Buyer, was published in 2014. He was formerly a prose editor at Lighthouse Journal. His literary criticism on the works of Sarah Hall, Will Self, and Rupert Thomson have been published as book chapters and in journals. He teaches in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the UEA.

Paul Cooper

Paul Cooper is an author and researcher from Cardiff, Wales. He was educated at the University of Warwick and the UEA, and after graduating he left for Sri Lanka to work as an English teacher, where he took time to explore the ruins both ancient and modern. His first novel, River of Ink, tells the story of a translator caught in the influence of a tyrannical king and ordered to translate a piece of epic poetry. River of Ink was published by Bloomsbury in 2016. Cooper currently works as a teacher, journalist, archivist and editor.