Poetry Translation Centre's 20th Birthday Year

  • Multicoloured balloons

Throughout 2024, the Poetry Translation Centre is celebrating its 20th birthday with a jam-packed programme of events, workshops, publications and prizes.

To celebrate the poets and translators we’ve worked with over the past two decades, we’ve planned five themed showcases in Norwich and Great Yarmouth, Newcastle, Ledbury, London, Sheffield and Manchester. In preparation, we’ve been building relationships with communities in those regions, partnering with an array of leading cultural and community organisations to run informal workshops and events exploring ideas around translation.

But that’s not all! As we turn twenty, we’re also getting a new look - keep your eyes peeled for a rebrand and a refresh of our website very soon.

The PTC will also publish four astonishing books in 2024, including our groundbreaking anthology Living in Language: International Reflections for the Practising Poet; a new World Poet Series title, Real by Turkish poet Karin Karakaşlı, translated by Canan Marasligil and Sarah Howe; a new title by Mexican poet Victor Terán, translated by Shook from Zapotec; and Translations of the Route, a collection by Argentine poet Laura Wittner translated by Juana Adcock, published in partnership with Bloodaxe Books. Laura will be touring her book with Juana here in the UK in October.

Photo by Pexels via Pixabay.

  • A collection of the PTC's World Poets Series titles, spines-up: a colourful assortment of pink, green, red and blue

In September, back at SOAS where the PTC was founded, we’ll celebrate the winners of the Sarah Maguire Prize for poetry in translation, and then make way for an all-out birthday party. The Sarah Maguire Prize closed for submissions on 31 December 2023 - stay tuned for the shortlist announcement in the Spring, and events featuring the shortlistees throughout the Summer.

We are also developing a new hybrid event format, which we’ll be evaluating throughout the year. Each showcase will feature one blockbuster hybrid event that won’t not remind you of Eurovision, as we connect poets, translators and audiences virtually across borders, limiting our carbon footprint.

On top of that, we’re running our regular workshop seasons at home in Deptford and online, and have more plans for UNDERTOW, our programme for polylingual young poets.

Calendar of Events

If you can’t wait to get stuck in, here’s what we know so far. Check back for more details and dates later in 2024…

January

23rd - A Georgian poetry translation workshop with select community groups in Newcastle (Brown Girls Write, Out of Your Head, Tees Women Poets, Poet in the City’s The Exchange)

February

5th - Our regular season of online poetry translation workshops begins, translating Persian, Chinese, Spanish and Somali with Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún and Leo Boix - book here

March

8th - Publication of Living in Language, our anthology of lyric essays, fragments, letters and new poems exploring the craft of poetry from 21 writers around the world

14th - A panel and reception with Habib Tengour and Delaina Haslam at London Book Fair:

16th - A free Vietnamese poetry translation workshop with Quynh Nguyen and April Yee at our home in Deptford for Deptford Literature Festival

21st-23rd - Our Exile and Arrival Showcase at the National Centre for Writing, Norwich, now open for booking:

How can I take part?

The PTC is nothing without its network of poets, translators and language-enthusiasts. It wouldn’t be a birthday party without you there, so we heartily invite you to join in.

Come to an event

There’s no better way to celebrate than to join us at one of our events this year, whether online or in-person. Whether you’re an old friend of the PTC, or you’ve always meant to come to one of our events and never found the time, add it to your New Year’s Resolution list to find out what’s on near you and book a ticket.

Buy a book

Invite poetry in translation into your home! Enjoy one of our unique (and often award-winning) bilingual publications from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Order now.

Share a memory

Since our founding in 2004 by Sarah Maguire, the PTC’s work has touched so many lives. In 2024, we’re inviting you to share your memories of the PTC over the past two decades. We’ll update this page soon with details on how to do this.

Join our mailing list

You won’t want to miss out on all we’re doing this year. Sign up to our free mailing list to be the first to know.

Thank you

In this landmark year, we wanted to say an enormous thank you to all the poets, translators, audiences and generous donors who have been a part of the PTC’s first twenty years. We hope to see and celebrate as many of you as possible in 2024, and beyond.

We also want to thank our funders Arts Council England and the T. S. Eliot Foundation, and the many, many partner organisations who are working with us to make 2024 a year to remember:

  • for our Exile and Arrival Showcase, the National Centre for Writing, red herring press, ICORN Malmo, Dawit Izaak Library, and Världspoesidagen;

  • for our Women and Non-binary Poets Showcase, New Writing North, Poet in the City, Newcastle Poetry Festival and Out of Your Head;

  • for our Latinx Showcase, Ledbury Poetry Festival, the British Library, Un Nuevo Sol, Latin America House and the University of San Andrés;

  • for our Somali Showcase, Kayd Somali Arts and Culture, Off the Shelf Festival, Israac Somali Community Organisation and Hargeysa Cultural Centre;

  • and for The Future is Now Showcase, Manchester Poetry Library, Singapore Writers’ Festival and SingLit Station.

Finally, we want to honour Sarah Maguire, our founder and first director. Without Sarah, the Poetry Translation Centre would not exist, and the UK poetry translation sector would be much poorer. Thank you to Sarah, and to everyone who was involved in our inception twenty years ago.

We can’t wait to see you in 2024.

About the Poetry Translation Centre

The Poetry Translation Centre was established by the poet Sarah Maguire in 2004, to introduce new audiences to leading poets from around the world, as well as better understand and celebrate the diverse communities who have made their home in the UK. We focus on poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America, working collaboratively with poets and translators to bring new work to English-speaking audiences in the UK.

Our translations begin at our regular workshops, where poets, translators and poetry enthusiasts work towards new English versions of poems, starting with a literal or ‘close’ translation. These workshops are also where new poets are discovered and new collaborations are formed. The final version of each poem is completed either in the workshops themselves or by pairs of English-language poets and translators who we invite to work in partnership.

Our website is a free archive of international poetry. We display the final version of each poem we translate alongside the original language text, the literal translation and notes on the process, making our translations completely transparent. We also create dual-language recordings of our poems so that everyone can experience the poems in their original language.

We publish chapbooks as well as fuller anthologies with Bloodaxe Books. We have also regularly brought international poets to the UK for tours, starting with our first World Poets Tour in 2005.

Translation is the lifeblood of poetry. Through the Poetry Translation Centre’s work we want to enrich the English poetic tradition and encourage our poets to form friendships across borders. We also want to open windows onto the many cultures that live side by side in the UK, especially those that have been sidelined or misunderstood. By making diverse poetries at home in English we aim to celebrate the UK’s many literary traditions, and invite everyone to play a role in British cultural life.