Following the government's advice on face covering in crowded areas, we strongly recommend that you wear a face mask out of respect for others. If you're not able to wear a face covering, please ask for an exemption badge on entry.

Saved events

    The Politics of Translation

    Sun 26 Sep, 4pm UTC
    Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
    Literature & poetry
    past event
    Mina Kandasamy, poet and translator

    Meena Kandasamy and Sasha Dugdale, both poets and translators, along with Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, the writer and academic, discuss identity and international literature at this event, chaired by Daniel Hahn, also a translator and author.

    Together they consider the possibilities and limits of international writing, decolonising literature, the dominance of English-language publishing and the question of who chooses what is and is not translated.

    Produced in partnership with English PEN.

    Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s books include the novels Petals of Blood, for which he was imprisoned by the Kenyan government in 1977, A Grain of Wheat and Wizard of the Crow. Recipient of ten honorary doctorates, he is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

    Meena Kandasamy is an anti-caste activist, poet, novelist and translator. Activism is at the heart of her literary work; she has translated several political texts from Tamil to English. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and the Jhalak Prize. She holds a PhD in sociolinguistics.

    Sasha Dugdale is a poet and translator. She has published five collections of poems with Carcanet Press, most recently TS Eliot Prize-shortlisted Deformations. Her translation of Maria Stepanova’s In Memory of Memory was shortlisted for the International Booker, and her translations of Stepanova’s War of the Beasts and the Animals was an English PEN Translates Award winner. She is former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation and poet-in-residence at St John’s College, Cambridge.

    Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator, with about 80 books to his name. Recent translations include novels by Paulo Scott (Brazil), Rodrigo Blanco Calderón (Venezuela) and Diamela Eltit (Chile). He is on the board of English PEN.

    Need to know

    Age recommendation/restriction

    For ages 16+

    Dates & times

    Sun 26 Sep, 4pm UTC


    • Standard entry£10*
    • Concessions25%**

    * Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

    ** Limited availability. Read about concessions.

    The Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by the Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.

    Get presale tickets

    Members get the first chance to book our entire programme of events, including go-down-in-history gigs, concerts with world-class orchestras, and talks from cultural icons and political giants.




    Purcell Room

    Open 90 minutes before an event until the end of the event. Closed at all other times.

    Our address is: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. The nearest tube and train stations within 5-7 minutes walk are Waterloo (Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee and Waterloo & City lines) and Embankment (District & Circle lines). There are also lots of bus routes with stops 2-5 minutes from our venues. For more information on getting here by road, rail or river.

     Visit our Getting here page

    Tickets to all of our events and exhibitions can be booked online, by telephone or in person. Find out all you need to know about tickets, including collection, concessions, group bookings and more via the link below.

    Tickets & concessions faqs

    Get an overview of the seating layout of the Purcell Room by downloading our seating plan.

    Download seating plan

    Purcell Room is located in Queen Elizabeth Hall. For step-free access please use Royal Festival Hall JCB glass lift to Level 2 and enter via Riverside Terrace.

    Talk to a member of staff at the auditorium entrance if you have a disability that means you can’t queue, or you need extra time to take your seat. They can arrange priority entry for you as soon as the doors open.

    Download step-free access map

    More about Access & facilities 

    An accessible toilet is located in the foyer.

    A Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1 Royal Festival Hall next to the JCB Glass Lift, for the exclusive use of disabled people who need personal assistance to use the toilet.

    The facility includes a height-adjustable bench, tracking hoist system, a centrally-placed toilet, a height-adjustable basin and a shower. The key for this room is available from the Welcome Hub on Level 2, Royal Festival Hall. The facility is open daily 10am – 11pm.

    Our cloakroom opens around 60 minutes before the start of any show, and closes around 15 minutes after the performance ends. It’s at the bottom of the stairs next to the Ticket Desk.