Oxford Translation Day 2024

Thursday 6th June


Translating Punctuation Workshop and Zine-Making with Adriana X. Jacobs and Georgie Fooks

Seminar Room 8, St Anne's College

Inspired by the Translating Punctuation roundtable at last year’s Oxford Translation Day, this workshop invites participants to consider the material conditions of translation and how they affect our understanding of punctuation.

The author Cristina Rivera Garza has described punctuation as “the breathing system of a text”. Punctuation, while a physically small intervention on the page, can influence the rhythm, tone, and mood of a text, posing intriguing challenges for translators. The same mark, transported across languages, can make a world of difference. And as a visual symbol, punctuation introduces a graphic element to the text, altering the space of the page and its design. The translation and zine-making workshop will bring together the visual and textual components of our translation practice. This workshop will be led by Adriana X. Jacobs and Georgie Fooks.

All languages are welcome. No prior literary translation experience required. Participants are encouraged to bring along texts with interesting approaches to punctuation. Materials for zine-making will be provided.

Register via Eventbrite, here(max. 25 participants)

Adriana X. Jacobs is Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature at the University of Oxford and author of Strange Cocktail: Translation and the Making of Modern Hebrew Poetry (University of Michigan Press, 2018). Her translations of contemporary Hebrew poetry include Vaan Nguyen’s The Truffle Eye (Zephyr Press, 2021), for which she was awarded the 2022 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Merav Givoni Hrushovski's End— (Carrion Bloom Books, 2023).

Georgie Fooks is a current DPhil student in Spanish at the University of Oxford, researching twentieth-century Argentine poetry and translation. As a writer and translator from Spanish, her work has been published in Asymptote, Hopscotch Translation, and The Oxonian Review. She is the Director of Outreach at Asymptote and has studied poetry translation at the BCLT Summer School.

Friday 14th June


Found in Translation: A Collaboration with Curio Books and Culture

Curio Books and Culture (in the basement of Common Ground), Little Clarendon Street

What happens when translation leaves the printed page and enters the public environment of a bookshop? As part of Oxford Translation Day, independent bookshop Curio Books and Culture will welcome the community into its vault to celebrate the power of literature in translation. During the weeks leading up to Oxford Translation Day, Curio will invite bookshop visitors to nominate their own shortlist of translated literature, which will be displayed alongside the 2024 Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize shortlist.

On Friday evening, founder of Curio Books, Nick Hagan and Tinashe Mushakavanhu will reflect on the two selections through conversation and zine-making with the audience and consider the questions: How can we think about translated literature within the setting of an independent, second-hand bookshop like Curio? How do we come to find a work in translation, and how does it, in turn, find and shape us?

Register via Eventbrite, here.

Nick Hagan opened Curio Books and Culture in December 2023, launching a new, alternative space for literature and community events in Oxford. As well as curating Curio, Nick is also a freelance writer with an interest in cultural analysis including film, literature, psychology and philosophy.

Tinashe Mushakavanhu is a writer, editor, and Junior Research Fellow in African and Comparative Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford. He is co-creator and lead researcher on readingzimbabwe.com a digital  archive collecting, cataloguing, digitising  and making available information on books about Zimbabwe from the 1950s to the present. He is also co-founder of Black Chalk & Co, which brings together writers, artists, designers, academics, and technologists and engenders a new culture and new forms of publishing and creative production. Some of his recent books include Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats (Black Chalk & Co, 2019) and Ndabaningi Sithole: A Forgotten Founding Father (HSRC Press, 2023). 

Saturday 15th June


Translating Colombian Poetry: Spanish Translation Workshop with Velia Vidal and Annie McDermott, in partnership with Charco Press

Seminar Room 10, St Anne's College

This workshop will give participants a chance to get to grips with the nuts and bolts of literary translation, working together to produce an English version of a poem by the Colombian writer and activist Velia Vidal’s new collection Cuerpos de agua (Bodies of Water). Led by writer-translator duo Velia Vidal and Annie McDermott, participants will consider the questions that arise when translating across languages and cultures, and the different ways translators and authors can work together. No prior knowledge of Spanish is required.

Register via Eventbrite, here.  (max. 25 participants)

Annie McDermott is a translator working from Portuguese and Spanish. She has translated over a dozen books by writers including Velia Vidal, Selva Almada, Mario Levrero, and Lídia Jorge. She was awarded the Premio Valle-Inclán for her translation of Wars of the Interior by Joseph Zárate (Granta, 2021), and her work has been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation and the TA First Translation Prize. Annie also reviews books for the Times Literary Supplement, and will be teaching on this year’s Bristol Translates Summer School. 

Velia Vidal is a Colombian writer, journalist and reading promoter. For her book Tidal Waters she won the Afro-Colombian Authors Publication Grant awarded by Colombia's Ministry of Culture. She is the co-author of Oir somos rio (2019) and its bilingual German-Spanish edition. She was chosen as one of the 100 most influential and inspiring women in the world by the BBC in 2022 as a result of her efforts in reading promotion. She was a finalist for the Eccles Centre Writer’s Prize in 2023 and is a research associate for the British Museum. She is the founder and director of the Motete Educational and Cultural Corporation and the Chocó Reading and Writing Festival (FLECHO).

Translating Kafka: German Translation Workshop with Ian Ellison and Hannah Scheithauer

Seminar Room 11, St Anne's College

We celebrate Franz Kafka’s centenary at Oxford Translation Day with a workshop where participants will explore the linguistic challenges and creative opportunities of translating the deceptively clear yet fragmentary prose of one of the most widely read and frequently translated of twentieth-century writers. Beginning with the famous opening sentence of The Metamorphosis, Ian Ellison and Hannah Scheithauer will guide participants through other examples of Kafka’s shortest stories and aphorisms, evaluating a range of published translations of some of Kafka’s pithiest and quirkiest texts. We will then have the chance to produce our own version of the lesser-known story ‘An Imperial Message’. No prior knowledge of German is required.

Register via Eventbrite, here.  (max. 25 participants)

Ian Ellison is the post-doctoral research associate of the AHRC-funded “Kafka’s Transformative Communities” project at Oxford and a visiting fellow at Wadham College. His first book, Late Europeans and Melancholy Fiction at the Turn of the Millennium, was published in 2022. He was longlisted for the 2024 Observer Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism and in 2023 he was shortlisted for the Peirene-Stevns Translation Prize.

Hannah Scheithauer is a DPhil at The Queen’s College, Oxford. Her research, which is supported by the Clarendon Fund and a Queen’s College Graduate Scholarship, investigates transnational forms of memory in contemporary literatures in French and German.


Translating Indigenous Languages: Quechua Translation Workshop with Constantina Higbee and Leo Boix, in partnership with the Poetry Translation Centre

Seminar Room 9, St Anne's College

The Poetry Translation Centre has been running collaborative poetry translation workshops for 20 years, translating poems from Asia, Africa and Latin America into English and working with leading poets and translators. We celebrate PTC’s twentieth anniversary at Oxford Translation Day with a workshop where participants will translate Quechua poet Raúl Cisneros with poet facilitator Leo Boix and guest translator Constantina Higbee.

No prior knowledge of Quechua is required. PTC workshops are guided by expert translators and facilitated by leading English-language poets. Ahead of the workshop, the translator will prepare a guide translation to allow all participants to take part in the translation and, during the session, they will be on-hand to offer guidance. The poet-facilitator duo will draws out contributions from the group to create a final collaborative translation.

This workshop will be introduced by Poetry Translation Centre’s Ecre Karadag.

Register via Eventbrite, here.  (max. 25 participants)

Constantina Higbee comes from Peru and is based in London. Her native language is Quechua and she works with the Rimanakuy Community Cultural Association—which seeks to conserve and promote Quechua language and Andean culture—teaching Quechua in London. She teaches Quechua in person and online and runs a Peruvian dance group.

Leo Boix is a Latino-British award-winning poet, translator, and journalist based in the UK. In 2019, he won the Keats-Shelley Prize for his poetry. He is the author of the collection Ballad of a Happy Immigrant (Penguin, 2021). He has published two collections in Spanish, Un lugar propio (Letras del Sur, 2015) and Mar de noche (Letras del Sur, 2017), and his work has been included in many anthologies, such as Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe, 2017), Why Poetry? (Verve Poetry Press, 2018) and The Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology 2019–2020 (BlackSpring Press, 2021).


Where Do I Start? A Panel Discussion with Emerging Translators

Seminar Room 7, St Anne’s College

What does the future of translation look like? Join us for a panel discussion of the problems, frustrations, initiatives, and opportunities facing young and early career translators today, as we welcome three of Oxford’s most brilliant emerging translators: Reuben Woolley, Tayiba Sulaiman, and Vita Dervan. Sharing between them a number of prestigious awards, mentorships, and editorships, our panelists are perfectly placed to shed light on this age-old profession’s twenty-first-century challenges. This panel will be chaired by Minna Jeffery.

Register via Eventbrite, here.

Reuben Woolley received a BA in English and Russian in 2021 and an MSt in Comparative Literature and Critical Translation in 2024 from the University of Oxford. He is a translator from Russian to English and was the recipient of the National Centre for Writing's Emerging Translator Mentorship in Russian for 2020–2021. His translation of Andrey Kurkov's Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv (Hachette, 2023) was longlisted for the International Booker Prize. He is a frequent book reviewer for Rights in Russia, and his translations have been published in Index on Censorship and Cardinal Points, as well as on the websites LeftEast and openDemocracy. He is currently translating Russian journalist and writer Sergey Khazov-Cassia's novel The Gospel According To…, which received an English PEN Translates Award in 2023.

Tayiba Sulaiman has just finished her BA in English and German from St Hilda’s College, Oxford, followed by an Emerging Translators Mentorship in Swiss German with the National Centre for Writing. Having written scripts produced by theatre companies like Take Back, Girl Gang MCR and Hung Theatre, she now mainly writes poetry and non-fiction: her poem ‘Reading’ won the 2021 Eugene Lee-Hamilton Prize. In 2020, she won the Warwick Undergraduate Translation Prize (German), was shortlisted in the Austrian Cultural Forum’s Translation Prize (German) and was commended in the OxOn Poetry Translation Competition (French). She is currently interning at New Books in German.

Vita Dervan received a BA in Italian and Portuguese in 2023 and is currently completing an MSt in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford. She is a poet and translator. She is a co-founder of RGB Colour Scheme and the Oxford Anthology of Translation (OAT)—a publication dedicated to printing literary translations and writing about translation by student and early-career translators—and an editor at The Burner.



Gilles Ortlieb’s The Day's Ration: A Reading and Conversation with the Poet and his Translators

Seminar Room 8, St Anne’s College

It seems appropriate that several years should elapse between the original idea to translate a selection of poems by French writer and translator Gilles Ortlieb and its recent fruition in the publication of The Day’s Ration earlier this year (Arc: Visible Poets 48). Appropriate because Ortlieb’s poems work by a process of sedimentation, and of accretion, two simultaneous processes, in which very little within the poet’s purview is overlooked. Jacques Réda has said of Ortlieb: ‘He is possessed of an eye that can discern, within the thicket of the real, the unnoticed, which may be its accessory or its reject’. Reviewing the collection in The High Window, David Cooke found what is instantly ortliebian: how the poet’s vision goes ‘beyond mere observation to create an atmosphere of isolation and rootlessness that is redolent of Edward Hopper or film noir’. He goes on: ‘It is Ortlieb’s achievement that in these finely wrought and haunting poems he has given such memorable expression to seemingly intractable material. Remaining true to the spirit and letter of the French, [the translators] have an unfailing sense of le mot juste and have produced versions that are worthy of the originals and which are authentic poems in their own right’.

And as a distinguished translator himself (of Cavafy, Seferis and other Greek writers), Ortlieb has plenty to say about the challenges and rewards of translation, and he will be present along with his translators, Patrick McGuinness and Stephen Romer, to discuss, among other things, tone, ‘le mot juste’, poetry and the prosaic, the ordinary and the everyday, and how best to transpose the ortliebian—that tenacious adjective again—into something which is equally alive in a different language.

Register via Eventbrite, here.

Gilles Ortlieb was born in Morocco in 1953. He studied Classics at the Sorbonne, and after a period in which he was variously employed, interspersed by trips to Greece and the Mediterranean, he spent many years in Luxembourg where he worked as a translator for the European Union. He has published some twenty books in a wide range of genres, including poems, stories, essays and notebooks; these include Soldats et autres récits, Et tout le tremblement (Le Bruit du Temps, 2014 and 2016), Place au cirque, Au Grand Miroir, Tombeau des anges (Gallimard, 2002, 2005 and 2011) and Sous le crible, Le Train des jours, Ângelo (Finitude, 2008, 2010, 2018). He has made a number of translations into French, including, from the Greek, works by Constantin Cavafy, George Seferis and Thanassis Valtinos, and from the English, by Patrick McGuinness and Stephen Romer.

Patrick McGuinness is a poet and novelist. His first novel, The Last Hundred Days (Random House, 2011), was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Writers Club First Novel Award, and winner of the Writers Guild Award for Fiction and the Wales Book of the Year. His second novel, Throw Me to the Wolves (Bloomsbury, 2019), won the Royal Society of Literature's Encore Award and was longlisted for the CWA Golden Dagger Award. He is the author of the poetry collections The Canals of Mars (Carcanet, 2004), Jilted City (Carcanet, 2010), and Blood Feather (Cape, 2024). He is also a translator and editor, notably of The Penguin Book of French Short Stories (2022).

Stephen Romer is a poet, critic and translator, and a specialist in Franco-British Modernism. Among his translations are The Day’s Ration: Selected Poems by Gilles Ortlieb (Arc Publications, 2024) and The Arrière-pays by Yves Bonnefoy (Seagull Books, 2012); he is also a co-editor (with John Naughton and Anthony Rudolf) of the Yves Bonnefoy Reader (Volume 1: Poems, Carcanet, 2017). The most recent collection of his own poetry is Set Thy Love in Order: New & Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2017). He is currently Stipendiary Lecturer in French at Brasenose College, Oxford.





amuk: A Performance and Conversation on (Mis)Translation with Khairani Barokka

Seminar Room 8, St Anne's College

In her third collection of poetry amuk, Khairani Barokka sheds light on the devastating and ongoing effects of a single word’s (mis)translation—from the word ‘amuk’, which in Indonesian and Malay means ‘rage/to rage’, into the English phrase ‘running amok’, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘to run about in a violent or murderous frenzy’. Groundbreaking in its use of form, amuk deconstructs the brutal workings of oppressive systems to examine how, ‘through macheted etymology’, violence and suffering is replicated through (mis)translation. Crucially, however, amuk emphasises what exists in opposition to such hostile histories: hope, resistance, and joy.

This poetry performance of amuk will be followed by a conversation with Okka on translation and mistranslation, the ecological crisis, and the legacies of colonialism. This conversation will be chaired by Joseph Hankinson.

Register via Eventbrite, here.

Khairani Barokka is a translator, editor, writer, and artist from Jakarta with over two decades of professional translation experience. Okka’s work has been presented widely internationally, and centers disability justice as anticolonial praxis, and access as translation. Among her honors, she has been Modern Poetry in Translation’s inaugural Poet in Residence, a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change, an Artforum Must-See, and Associate Artist at the UK’s National Centre for Writing. Okka’s books include Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis, 2016), Rope (Nine Arches, 2017), and Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches, 2021), shortlisted for the Barbellion Prize. Her latest book is amuk (Nine Arches, 2024).


Translation and Decolonisation: A South–South Panel Discussion

Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne's College

What does decolonisation mean for translation? Does translation help or hinder progressive movements in the Global South? Are there important similarities between the practice and experience of translation across the Southern Hemisphere? Experts in the language and literature of Southern Africa, Indigenous Latin America, the Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent come together for a panel discussion of translation and decolonisation, with a particular focus on the promise of and obstacles facing South-South dialogue and translation as we fast approach the second quarter of the twenty-first century.

This panel discussion will be chaired by Mohamed-Salah Omri.

Register via Eventbrite, here.

Cecilia Rossi is Associate Professor in Literature and Translation at the University of East Anglia, where she convenes the MA in Literary Translation and works for British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) as Postgraduate and Professional Liaison. Her latest translation, Alejandra Pizarnik’s The Last Innocence and The Lost Adventures, published by Ugly Duckling Presse, was shortlisted for the National Translation Awards for Poetry (ALTA) in 2020. Since 2019 she has been working with the AATI (Argentine Association of Translators and Interpreters) and researchers at UNSAM (Universidad Nacional de San Martín) on the Translation and the Revitalisation of Indigenous and Minoritised Languages project and is Consulting Editor of the Argentine Etnodiscursividades Book Series, which has to date published three volumes of indigenous writing in bilingual format. 

Kavita Bhanot is a writer, translator, editor, researcher and organiser. She wrote the landmark essay ‘Decolonise not Diversify’ in 2015. She is the editor of three short-story collections, including Too Asian, not Asian Enough (Tindal Street, 2011) and The Book of Birmingham (Comma, 2018), and co-editor of Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation (Tilted Axis, 2022) with translator Jeremy Tiang. Her translation of Anjali Kajal’s Hindi stories Ma is Scared and Other Stories, winner of a PEN Translates Award in 2021, was published with Comma Press in 2023. Kavita founded and co-organises Literature Must Fall and Jaag: Panjabi and Pahari-Pothwari Language and Literature Festival in Birmingham. She is currently writing a book Literature Must Fall: Resisting Literary Supremacy (Pluto Press) and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham.

Sawad Hussain is a translator from Arabic. Her translation of Bushra al-Maqtari’s What Have You Left Behind? (Fitzcarraldo, 2022) was shortlisted for The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation and the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, and longlisted for The Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing in 2023. She is a judge for the Palestine Book Awards and the 2024 Armory Square Prize for South Asian Literature in Translation. Her most recent translations include Edo’s Souls by Stella Gaitano (Dedalus Books, 2023), The Djinn’s Apple by Djamila Morani (Neem Tree Press, 2024), and the co-translation of The Book Censor’s Library by Bothayna al-Essa (Restless Books, 2024).

Tinashe Mushakavanhu is a writer, editor, and Junior Research Fellow in African and Comparative Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford. He is co-creator and lead researcher on readingzimbabwe.com a digital  archive collecting, cataloguing, digitising  and making available information on books about Zimbabwe from the 1950s to the present. He is also co-founder of Black Chalk & Co, which brings together writers, artists, designers, academics, and technologists and engenders a new culture and new forms of publishing and creative production. Some of his recent books include Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats (Black Chalk & Co, 2019) and Ndabaningi Sithole: A Forgotten Founding Father (HSRC Press, 2023).


Polkadot Wounds: Anthony Capildeo in conversation with Malachi McIntosh

Seminar Room 8, St Anne's College

Anthony Capildeo’s poetic practice has always flourished as part of conversation with other writers (dead and living) and other people. Capildeo’s new collection, Polkadot Wounds—out this July with Carcanet Press—continues to develop their eclectic and meticulous examination of translation as a lived experience, method, and source of poetic expression. Ranging from Norman Castles and local martyrs to the ‘landskips’ of Britain and beyond, stopping on the way to play off Dante’s Divina Commedia and address the pandemic, Polkadot Wounds maps sensitively and often joyously the plurilingual and pluritemporal landscapes of our past, present, and future.

This poetry reading of Polkadot Wounds will be followed by a conversation with Malachi McIntosh.

Register via Eventbrite, here.

Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo FRSL is a Trinidadian Scottish writer of poetry and non-fiction. Currently Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of York, their site-specific word and visual art includes responses to Cornwall’s former capital, Launceston, as the Causley Trust Poet in Residence (2022) and to the Ubatuba granite of the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds (2023), as well as to Scottish, Irish, and Caribbean built and natural environments. Their numerous books and pamphlets, from No Traveller Returns (Salt, 2003), Person Animal Figure (Landfill, 2005) onwards, are distinguished by deliberate engagement with independent and small presses. Their work has been recognized with the Cholmondeley Award (Society of Authors) and the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. Their publications include Like a Tree, Walking (Carcanet, 2021) and A Happiness (Intergraphia, 2022). Their interests include silence, translation theory, medieval reworkings, plurilingualism, collaborative work, and traditional masquerade. Their latest book, Polkadot Wounds, is forthcoming with Carcanet in July.

Malachi McIntosh is Associate Professor of World Literatures in English at the University of Oxford and the Barbara Pym Tutorial Fellow in English at St. Hilda’s College. He is the author of Emigration and Caribbean Literature (2015) and the editor of Beyond Calypso: Re-Reading Samuel Selvon (2016). He is a 2023 British Library Eccles Fellow and the recipient of a Royal Society of Literature Giles St Aubyn Award (2022). From 2019-2022, Malachi was the Editor and Publishing Director of Wasafiri, the magazine of international contemporary writing. Prior to that, he co-led the Runnymede Trust’s multiple-award-winning Our Migration Story history education project and taught at the universities of Cambridge and Warwick. His first collection of short stories, Parables, Fables, Nightmares was published by the Emma Press in 2023. He is currently working on a book on the Caribbean Artists Movement.


“This is Why”: Translators on Translating

Seminar Room 7, St Anne's College

Join acclaimed literary translators who have featured on prestigious shortlists and longlists to hear more about their translation practices and choices. They will discuss a short poem or passage that they have recently translated, and give the audience insight into the “hows” and “whys” of their approach.

Register via Eventbrite, here.



Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize Short List Readings and Prize-Giving 

Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne’s College

The Oxford–Weidenfeld Prize is for book-length literary translations into English from any living European language. It aims to honour the craft of translation, and to recognise its cultural importance. It was founded by Lord Weidenfeld and is supported by New College, The Queen’s College, and St Anne’s College, Oxford. This celebration of literary translation will feature readings from the work of the shortlisted translators, and the presentation of the prize.

Register via Eventbrite, here.

DINNER (Invitation Only)