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Living in Language: Poetry and Translation in Postcolonial Contexts at London Book Fair

Literary Translation Centre, Olympia London

It has been suggested that the English language is ‘the most violent colonial weapon ever invented’ (Kaveh Akbar). In a postcolonial world, how and why do poets decide what language to write in? How do they (and their translators) deal with demands to translate the experience of their people? And what about the idea that ‘all writing is in effect translating our mother tongue’, as poet Habib Tengour writes in Living in Language? How do we manage to draw anything into words, and how far can we succeed?

This panel at London Book Fair is presented by the Poetry Translation Centre, which translates contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America; and the Translators’ Association, a sub-group of the Society of Authors which represents literary translators in the UK and beyond. The event explores questions raised in the PTC’s debut prose anthology, Living in Language, published in its 20th year. We'll be joined by Habib Tengour and translator Delaina Haslam, in conversation with writer and translator Isabel del Rio.

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