The Politics of Translation
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.
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