BCLT is a research centre in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.
Through the BCLT Research Group, the Centre serves as the focus for literary translation research within the School and beyond, by academic staff and research postgraduates. BCLT hosts regular research events such as research seminars, book launch symposia and more substantial conferences. We also partner with other research organisations across the UK and overseas on research projects such as the AHRC-funded Open World Research Initiative project “Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community”.
If you would like to work with BCLT as a partner on a research project, or are interested in applying to UEA for postgraduate research, please get in touch.
British Centre for Literary Translation offers two BCLT translation residencies every year for UK-based literary translators. The residencies are for 4 months, one day per week.
The 2023 Translators in Residence (Feb-May 2023) are Jen Calleja and Dr Jayasree Kalathil.
Image Credit: Robin Silas Christian
Jen Calleja is a writer, literary translator from German, and publisher based in Hastings, UK. She has translated nearly twenty works of German-language literature by writers including Marion Poschmann, Wim Wenders, Raphaela Edelbauer, Michelle Steinbeck and Kerstin Hensel. She has been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for her translations, and was the inaugural Translator in Residence at the British Library (2017-2019) and the Austrian Cultural Forum London (2015-2017). Her own books include Vehicle: a verse novel (Prototype, 2023), Dust Sucker (Makina Books, 2023) and I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For (Prototype 2020). Alongside Kat Storace, she is co-founding publisher at Praspar Press, a small press for Maltese literature in English and English translation.
While Translator in Residence at the BCLT, Jen will be working on her translation of a book-length psychogeographical essay by German writer and translator Gregor Hens for Fitzcarraldo Editions (title TBC), her second collaboration with Hens and Fitzcarraldo. She will also be researching and presenting her current PhD project on literary translator memoirs – ‘The life-art of translation’ – which includes her own surreal and experimental memoir Fair. She hopes to be as available and accessible as possible to the MA Literary Translation cohort and fellow researchers while a resident, and plans to give workshops on how to edit translations and write creatively about one’s translation practice.
@niewview www.jencalleja.com @prasparpress www.praspar.com
Image Credit: Adley Siddiqi
Dr Jayasree Kalathil is the author of a children’s book, The Sackclothman, which has been translated into Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi. Her translations have won the JCB Prize for Literature in 2020 (Moustache by S. Hareesh) and the Crossword Books Jury Award for Indian Language Translation in 2019 (Diary of a Malayali Madman by N. Prabhakaran). Her latest translation, Valli by Sheela Tomi, was shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature and the Atta Galatta-BLF Book Prize in 2022. Before becoming a fulltime translator, Jayasree worked in anti-racism and human rights in relation to mental health and psycho-social disability for over twenty years. Her works in this area include Recovery and Resilience: African, African- Caribbean and South Asian Women’s Stories of Recovering from Mental Distress, and the co-authored textbook Values and Ethics in Mental Health: An Exploration for Practice. Jayasree hails from Kerala, India, and currently lives in a small village in the New Forest in England.
During her residency, Jayasree will be translating a children’s novel, Chomi: Princess of Gardens by Kerala writer Gafoor Arackal. Told through the friendship between a young girl from the Kurumbar tribe in the 17th century and the son of a doctor in the present, the book deals with indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants and present-day concerns about the environment. Alongside translating this book, Jayasree hopes to explore questions around translating history, especially colonial history, for children and around being a translator from a minority community living in the UK, and how these questions can be embedded in wider discussions on translation as a cross-cultural practice.
Watch this video to find out more about the scheme:
The inaugural BCLT Translators in Residence were Olivia Hellewell and William Gregory (October 2020-January 2021).
The 2021-22 BCLT Translators in Residence were Sawad Hussain and Laura McGloughlin (February-May 2022).
You can watch some of the online events that our BCLT Translators in Residence have taken part in during their residencies on the BCLT YouTube channel.
Our Translators in Residence meet regularly with BCLT's Cecilia Rossi to discuss questions surrounding literary translation. These discussions have resulted in collaborative blog posts that can be viewed on the NewWriting.net website.
"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."
"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...I cannot recommend this opportunity highly enough and I urge all fellow translators, however you came into literary translation, to consider applying."
The Charles Wallace India Trust
The Charles Wallace India Trust translation residency has been offered by the British Centre for Literary Translation since the 1990s. It offers translators from India the opportunity to spend time at the University of East Anglia working on a literary translation project of their choice.
While their translation project forms the focus of their stay with us, we also encourage Fellows to engage in the academic, cultural and social life of the faculty.
BCLT is located within the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, which offers teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level in literary translation. We aim to offer CWIT Fellows the opportunity to present papers and talk about work in progress with translators and creative writers.
Translation Fellowship 2023/24
Applications are invited for the 2023/24 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship in Literary Translation - the successful applicant will be in residence at the British Centre for Literary Translation at UEA, Norwich, for 8 weeks from Sunday 21st January – Saturday 16th March 2024.
Download full details of the 2023/24 CWIT Fellowship, including information on how to apply.
Download the CWIT 2023/24 Application Form
Download the CWIT 2023/24 Reference Request Form
The applicant must:
- be an Indian national (and domiciled in India)
- hold a PhD in the relevant field, and/or demonstrate a proven track record and show a willingness to work collaboratively
- provide a proposal stating clearly what they want to do at the host institution and how they plan to use the experience on their return to India. The proposal must state how the experience of an international Fellowship may benefit their career development
- be proficient in English language skills
- not have received any other CWIT grant in the last 5 years
The closing date for receipt of applications is 1st September 2023.
Translation Fellowship 2022/23
The 2022/23 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship (18 September - 10 December 2022) was awarded to Sujit Kumar Mandal.
Sujit Kumar Mandal, born in 1977, is Associate Professor and presently the Head of the Department of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. His research areas include reception, translation, traditional cultures and performance. He has translated various short stories, plays, and essays from English to Bengali. For more than a decade, Sujit has been working with the patuya (scroll painter) community in Bengal. He was awarded the Charles Wallace India Trust Literary Translation Fellowship in 2022 to translate the scroll narratives. Sujit undertook extensive fieldwork throughout the districts of Bengal during 2007-2010 and collected the traditional songs that survived in the memory of the scroll painters (patuya). This was mostly done with the help of the legendary traditional scroll painter Dukhushyam Chitrakar (who died recently in 2022). This collection, the only full-phased and contemporary collection of the songs associated with the traditional scroll paintings of Bengal was published in 2011. The volume titled Dukhushyam Chitrakar: Patuya Sangeet edited by Sujit is a collection of 78 long narrative verses along with photographs of traditional scroll paintings. This is perhaps the only complete collection of such contemporary narrative verses in the field of the scroll paintings of Bengal. In this context, during his residency Sujit translated the lyrics he had collected from Bangla into English, primarily for the sake of dissemination of knowledge. His Charles Wallace India Trust translation residency at BCLT focused on completing the translation of the 78 verses of the abovementioned volume.
Sujit's research seminar on 'Translating the scroll narratives of Bengal' can be viewed on the BCLT YouTube channel now. You can also download Sujit's bibliography here.
Translation Fellowship 2021/22
The 2021 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship (27 September - 3 December 2021) was awarded to Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha .
Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha is Professor of English and Coordinator, Center for Critical Social Inquiry, Kazi Nazrul University, India.
Anindya's fellowship took place online and during his time with us he worked on his translation project ‘Versifying Cosmopolitan Hope Amidst the Wounds of Time: Translation of the Kallol Era Poets.’
Translation Fellowship 2020/21
Due to uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 global crisis, the 2020 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship at BCLT did not take place.
Translation Fellowship 2019/20
The 2019 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship was awarded to Dr Shampa Roy. Dr Roy was resident at BCLT from 29 September - 7 December 2019.
Dr Shampa Roy is an Associate Professor at the Dept. of English, Miranda House, Delhi University, Delhi. In a career of close to thirty years, she has taught diverse undergraduate courses ranging from Nineteenth Century British Fiction to Indian Writings in Translation. She has co-edited, along with Saswati Sengupta and Sharmila Purkayastha, a collection of essays on Rabindranath Tagore's Ghare Baire/Home and the World titled Towards Freedom (Orient Longman, 2007) and is particularly excited about working with the same editorial team on the book, The 'Bad' Women of Bombay Films: Studies in Desire and Anxiety (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan, US, 2020).
Translation Fellowship 2018/19
Dr Urvashi Sabu was our 2018 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow (30 September - 8 December 2018).
Dr Urvashi Sabu is Associate Professor, Dept of English, PGDAV College, Delhi University, Delhi. For her tenure at BCLT, she undertook a translation of renowned Pakistani poet and activist Kishwar Naheed’s non-fiction prose work, Buri Aurat Ke Khutoot: Naazaida Beti Ke Naam (Letters of a Bad Woman: To Her Unborn Daughter)
Translation Fellowship 2017
The 2016-2017 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship was awarded to Sreedevi K Nair. Sreedevi is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of English at NSS College for Women, Neeramankara, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
During her 11 weeks in Norwich, Sreedevi undertook independent research entitled ‘Sita’s Sorrow: When Malayali Women Retell The Ramayana.’
Translation Fellowship 2016
Sanjukta Dasgupta of Calcutta University took up the Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship at BCLT in 2016.
Professor Dasgupta is Former Head of the Department of English and Former Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Calcutta University.
During her Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship at BCLT she worked on a project entitled 'Rabindranath Tagore and Madhurilata Tagore: Gender Discourse and Representation of Women in the Texts of Father and Daughter. A Translated Miscellany'.
The gender-specific translation project in four parts comprised translations of selected essays, poems and letters of Rabindranath Tagore as well as translations of the short stories of Madhurilata Tagore.
Translation Fellowship 2015
Mamta Sagar was awarded the Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship 20 April - 5 July 2015.
Dr Sagar is a poet, playwright and translator. She is Assistant Professor, Centre for Kannada Studies, Bangalore University. During her residency she worked towards compiling Translating Voices of Resistance, a collection of 100 poems by 50 contemporary poets for an international anthology voicing resistance.
BCLT runs a series of online research seminars each term. Details of upcoming research seminars can be found on our homepage in the event listings.
You can view recent online research seminars on the BCLT YouTube channel.
Stylistic Border Crossings in and beyond Translation
Thursday 9-Friday 10 March 2023 (online)
Language boundaries are not transparent; from translation to migration studies, we know that they cannot be crossed without sacrifice and a complex negotiation of gains. Yet we routinely compare stylistic features in different languages in fields such as comparative literature, translation, literary multilingualism and translingualism, world and postcolonial literature, or the study of international literary movements. Whenever a work is translated, or a writer is a user of multiple languages, or one writer is influenced by reading another’s work in a foreign language (and sometimes, perhaps, in translation), and in several other settings, questions of stylistic transfer become both relevant and essential.
Outside of translation studies, there has been little attempt to account for the nature, effects and limitations of such stylistic osmosis. When do stylistic features developed in one language cross into another? What happens when they do? To what extent do they remain the same in another linguistic context? What are the limitations to recreating stylistic characteristics of a text in another language? How can this phenomenon be studied systematically beyond translation studies and what existing theoretical approaches can help clarify the processes involved? How will accounting for them affect the discipline?
This conference offered a venue to discuss cross-lingual stylistic transfer as an approach to understanding crucial aspects of today’s globalised literary market. It addressed the question of stylistic border crossings in four sections: (1) translation, (2) influence, (3) multilingualism and (4) theoretical approaches.
Download the full programme for the conference.
Watch plenary sessions on the BCLT YouTube channel.
Eco-Translation: Responding to the Work of Michael Cronin
Friday 14-Saturday 15 May 2021 (online)
This two-day online conference focused on the work of the influential Irish translation theorist Michael Cronin. Leading UK and international scholars of translation, eco-criticism and environmental studies addressed issues highlighted in Cronin’s recent work, in particular Eco-Translation: Translation and Ecology in the Age of the Anthropocene (Routledge, 2017). Cronin’s book explores the challenges to translation posed by human-induced environmental change, with topics ranging from the translation of travel literature to endangered languages and inter-species communication.
The conference was co-organised by the British Centre for Literary Translation and the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies at UEA. You can watch sessions from the conference on the BCLT YouTube channel.
Publishing in Translation
A day-conference at BCLT with panel events, workshops and networking bringing together publishers, literary translators and researchers
Saturday 30 November 2019, 10.30am-4.30pm, Thomas Paine Study Centre, UEA
Publishing in translation - find out more
Literary Translation Workshops: Bridging Communities Affected by Past Conflicts
Friday 23 November 2018, National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall, Norwich
Venuti and After: A day-conference at BCLT on the work of Lawrence Venuti and its impact on Translation Studies
Friday 11 May 2018, University of East Anglia, Norwich
Innovation & Experimentalism in Translation and Translation Theory
18 - 19 November 2017, University of East Anglia, Norwich
The 7th Biennial Postgraduate Translation Symposium focused on innovative or experimental developments in literary translation practices, in translation theory, across the history of translation and in the practical applications of translation. We pondered both new critical developments, and new creative opportunities. It considered the challenges, and explored whether innovation has its limits. It also considered where innovation and experimentalism may lead the future of Translation Studies.
Keynote speakers: Dr Rocío Baños Piñero, UCL; Professor Catherine Boyle, KCL; Professor Tom Cheesman, Swansea; Clive Scott, Emeritus Professor, UEA.
The symposium was generously supported by: The Faculty of Arts and Humanities, UEA; the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership; the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT).
Shakespeare in Translation
10 - 11 December 2016, University of East Anglia, Norwich
In collaboration with the British Council, Globe Education and Writers' Centre Norwich.
A conference that brought together translators, academics and theatre practitioners from the UK and overseas to discuss Shakespeare in translation and his international reception. This was the final event in the British Council’s 2016 programme “A Great Feast of Languages”, which marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It featured three translation workshop sessions, six short presentations on aspects of Shakespeare in translation, and recorded perfomances of new translations produced by participants in international translation workshops held in Cologne, Mexico City and Singapore.
Dalit Literature And/In Translation
29 - 30 June 2015 at the University of East Anglia
The Centre for Postcolonial Studies at Nottingham Trent University, UK, in collaboration with the research centre EMMA at the Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France, created an international academic network to enable a multi-disciplinary dialogue on Indian literature produced by Dalits (formerly known as Untouchables) by hosting a series of workshops and conferences on the production, translation, dissemination and analysis of Dalit literature.
As part of this network, BCLT hosted a conference at the University of East Anglia in June 2015.
Watch part one
Literary Translation: Redrawing the Boundaries
Thursday 4 December 2014, University of East Anglia
A round table to celebrate the publication of Literary Translation: Redrawing the Boundaries (Palgrave Macmillan) edited by Jean Boase-Beier, Antoinette Fawcett and Philip Wilson.
Literary Translation: Redrawing the Boundaries is a collection of articles that gathers together current work in literary translation to show how research in the field can speak to other disciplines whilst simultaneously learning from them.
Contributors included BJ Epstein, Duncan Large, Clive Scott and George Szirtes.
The BCLT Research Group originally came together in 1993, when Jean Boase-Beier established UEA’s MA in Literary Translation with Professors W.G. Sebald, Clive Scott and Janet Garton.
Its ethos was to combine research with the writing of translations. Current members are Duncan Large, Cecilia Rossi, Thomas Boll, Jo Catling, Philip WIlson, Veronika Bowker, Eugenia Loffredo, Eugenia Kelbert Rudan, Hannah Osborne, Kotryna Garanasvili, Alana Stone, Marian Arribas-Tome and Sophie Stevens.
BCLT Research Group members lecture, write and offer workshops on a range of literary translation topics. They also run a PhD programme, from which around 70 students have graduated. Members have received grants and awards for their translations and research. Read more about BCLT Research Group member publications.
The BCLT Translation Studies Reading Group was established in 2020 by Philip Wilson and Jen Calleja.
The group meets a few times per term to discuss a scholarly article that has been announced in advance. Each article is given a very brief introduction of no more than 5 minutes by the person who has chosen it, but the point is to share thoughts. The group meets virtually via Microsoft Teams. The group is open to UEA staff and students and the public. If you would like to join the group please email Jon Herring.
As an academic research centre with a mission to support the literary translation profession, BCLT is in a unique position.
Working in close partnership with the National Centre for Writing and other key impact partners, we take pride in capitalising on our academic research to benefit the wider community.
In particular, we draw on the insights from our research in designing our programme of activities that contribute to the continuing professional development of translators. Read more about BCLT impact and the Translator as Creative Writer.
Translation Studies explores promising lines of work within the discipline of Translation Studies, placing a special emphasis on existing connections with neighbouring disciplines and the creation of new links.
Translation Studies aims to extend the methodologies, areas of interest and conceptual frameworks inside the discipline, while testing the traditional boundaries of the notion of “translation” and offering a forum for debate focusing on historical, social, institutional and cultural facets of translation.
Read issues of translation Studies online
The Iowa Review: Forum on Literature and Translation
A forum on literature and translation
BCLT and our colleagues across UEA have been actively programming events and activities around decolonisation, in terms of the curriculum and translation. Please find a few documents and films produced recently on this area of work:
Dialogues on Decolonisation 2021 - Download this document detailing a series of conversations held in 2021 on topics such as 'What is the Role of Academic Leadership in Decolonising the Curriculum?', 'How do Indigenous Lives Matter to Academics?' and 'Can Culture be Decolonised?'
The plenary sessions at the 2022 BCLT Summer School were programmed by Kavita Bhanot and Jeremy Tiang. Our speakers for the short talks and panels were drawn from the Tilted Axis anthology 'Violent Phenomena: Translation and its Discontents.' What does it mean to decolonise literary translation, and is such an endeavour even possible? Contributors from the anthology shared their thoughts on how translation can be reimagined and reclaimed in order to dismantle power structures inherent in the literary world. You can watch the short talks and plenary sessions on the BCLT YouTube channel.