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Translators in Residence

BCLT Translator in Residence Scheme

To celebrate BCLT's 30th Anniversary in 2019/20, the centre launched a new Translator in Residence scheme. The BCLT Translators in Residence spend 4 months working with the centre. They spend one day per week on a specific project that they introduce in their application. They also work with UEA students, the wider academic community and the public.

The inaugural BCLT Translators in Residence were Olivia Hellwell and William Gregory (October 2020-January 2021). In the coming months we will be announcing the next round of applications for the BCLT Translators in Residence scheme. In the meantime we wanted to say a massive thank you to William and Olivia. Although their residencies had to be virtual, we were blown away by how much they managed to do in a relatively short period of time. BCLT's Cecilia Rossi said of the residencies,

"Very early on Olivia, William and I decided to hold online fortnightly meetings, perhaps to make up for the fact we couldn't meet in person, over a cup of coffee, at the BCLT Library. It may have been this virtual space that prompted us to think of the residency as a space for reflection, about literary translation needing a more 'robust space' and the way we could make this happen. During the residencies, a question about whether a 'network' existed for 'less translated languages' became an actual network, and the practice of translation, accompanied by reflection, became the backbone of a presentation at the BCLT Research Seminar Series... These are just two small examples of what the scheme made possible and I look forward to what future residencies may offer."

Olivia said,

"My time as Translator in Residence granted me space to think creatively about connections between my translation work and my research; it offered a platform from which to hold conversations and to build working partnerships, and most importantly, I think, it carved out a regular, financially supported portion of time which I could dedicate to doing the thing I love to do the most: translating."

William said,
"It is wonderful news that, following my and Olivia's time as the inaugural Translators in Residence, the BCLT has confirmed that the programme will continue in to 2021-22. I cannot recommend this opportunity highly enough and I urge all fellow translators, however you came into literary translation, to consider applying."


Olivia Hellewell

Olivia is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nottingham and Slovene-English literary translator. Her most recent translation, The Fig Tree, by acclaimed Slovene author Goran Vojnović, is forthcoming in October 2020 with Istros Books, and previous published translations include Felix After The Rain, a children’s book for Tiny Owl, and None Like Her, by Jela Krečič-Žižek for Peter Owen. Her research has explored Slovene literary translation in Slovenia’s post-socialist period, analysing the power relations, institutional structures and discursive mechanisms that drive the supply of literary translation from a ‘small’ nation like Slovenia. Olivia also has a wealth of experience in leading translation events and workshops, and was workshop leader for the Slovene-English translation workshop at the BCLT’s 2019 Summer School.

It was The Fig Tree, a multi-generational saga set against the backdrop of critical periods in Yugoslav and Slovene history, that sparked the ideas and questions that shaped Olivia’s residency project, Translating Generations. Olivia used her time at the BCLT to explore questions about the stories we inherit as translators, about how translators of a given literature are connected to their professional predecessors ‒ What do we inherit and learn from those who came before us? What did they leave behind? ‒ and about what literary translators in the present might choose to pass on to literary translators of the future. During her time at UEA, Olivia also set up the Less Translated Languages Network. 

Whilst at BCLT, Olivia gave a research seminar on Supply-Driven Translation and Less-Translated Languages. We also held a book launch to celebrate the publication of Olivia's translation of The Fig Tree by Goran Vojnović.


William Gregory

William Gregory is a translator from the Spanish specialising in the theatre of Spain and Latin America. Originally trained as an actor in London and Pamplona, he has translated close to 200 plays, many of these by contemporary playwrights as part of the international writer development workshops of the Royal Court Theatre, where he is also a script consultant. His performed work for the Royal Court includes B by Guillermo Calderón, A Fight Against… by Pablo Manzi (forthcoming) and various plays for the Arena Mexico, Cuba Real and New Plays from Chile seasons. Productions elsewhere include I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep than Some Other Arsehole by Rodrigo García (Gate, London; Théâtre Excentrique, Sydney), Villa by Guillermo Calderón (Prime Cut, Belfast; Play Company, New York), Cuzco by Víctor Sánchez Rodríguez (Theatre503), Chamaco by Abel González Melo (HOME, Manchester) and The Concert by Ulises Rodríguez Febles (BBC Radio Drama). He was a finalist in the 2019 Valle Inclán award for literary translation from Spanish for The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Plays and a contributor in the same year to The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Argentine Plays. His forthcoming published work includes Housing Plan 2015-2045 by Bosco Israel Cayo Álvarez (Laertes Press). The non-fiction work The Uncapturable by Rubén Szuchmacher (Methuen Drama), a collection of reflections on theatre by one of Argentina’s leading directors, has just been published. He has also translated poetry and fiction. He is a member of the committee of the UK Translators Association, a Visiting Research Associate at King’s College London, and a member of the Hispanic and Lusophone theatre translation collective Out of the Wings.

Whilst at BCLT, William gave a research seminar on Whose Voice? Translating the plays of Bosco Cayo

William recorded a podcast with Sue Healy for the National Centre for Writing - Theatre in Translation: what next?

Olivia and William met regularly with BCLT's Cecilia Rossi to discuss questions surrounding literary translation. These discussions resulted in collaborative blog posts that can be viewed on the website.


We will be announcing the next round of applications for the translator in residence scheme (January 2022 - April 2022) soon.