Translating Our Success

by Pandora Longstreth

After another great International Translation Day this year, it is important to recognise all of the amazing work that English PEN, PEN International and the regional PEN centres do to protect world literature and translation. So let’s have a look at some of the most significant projects that English PEN has introduced!

The Global Translation Initiative (GTI)

“The Global Translation Initiative (GTI) aims to strengthen support for literary translation and share information between English-language translation communities throughout the world. The GTI project is supported by Arts Council England and works in partnership with organisations throughout the global translation community”

The GTI was finally introduced in 2011 after many years of supporting translation. In April 2011, GTI partners published and distributed Flying off the Shelves at the London Book Fair’s celebrated Literary Translation Centre and in September of that same year Taking Flight, the final GTI report, was launched on World Translation Day.

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English PEN’s World Bookshelf

The World Bookshelf is a platform where English PEN can promote new and exciting translated literature from around the world. The site has a world book section along with information on international writers, translators and an interesting and up-to-date blog. Check it out!


“The limited range of writing available in English translation in the UK remains a barrier to free speech. It prevents many writers from reaching a UK audience and many readers from accessing great writing from around the world. Through our Writers in Translation programme, we champion literature beyond national and linguistic borders and beyond conventional literary expectations.”

PEN Atlas

PEN Atlas is another section of English PEN’s website dedicates to promoting translation and world literature. They post literary dispatches onto the site every Thursday with the hope of bringing new insights into the rich literary landscape that may be found beyond the English language.

The goals of the PEN Atlas:

  • To promote literature as a means of intercultural understanding by providing a forum for writers (publishers, translators, booksellers, bloggers, critics) to share their appreciation of writing from a wide range of languages and cultures.
  • To add to the internationalism of the UK literary arena by bringing world writing to an English-language audience.
  • To overcome cultural boundaries within today’s diverse English society by creating a resource which supports English PEN’s programmes’ and values.



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