Conference 2019

Call for Papers

Translating Women: breaking borders and building bridges
in the English-language book industry

Institute of Modern Languages Research, London (UK), 31 Oct-1 Nov 2019

Download the Call for Papers as a PDF file here

Visit the event page at the IMLR here

Authors and translators in conversation:
Author Négar Djavadi (Disoriental, 2018) and translator Tina Kover.
Author Ariana Harwicz (Die, My Love, 2017; Feebleminded, 2019), and translators Carolina Orloff and Annie McDermott.

Keynote speaker:
Dr Margaret Carson, co-founder of the Women in Translation tumblr

Organisers:
Dr Olga Castro (Aston University), co-editor of Feminist Translation Studies (Routledge, 2017).
Dr Helen Vassallo (University of Exeter), principal investigator of the Translating Women project.

Call for papers:
Translated literature notoriously accounts for only 3.5% of published literature in the English-language book market, and less than one-third of this is women-authored. Women writers in translation occupy a difficult border space in literature, variously affected by lack of recognition in their home country, fewer women being entered for literary prizes, and less criticism and column space dedicated to women writers. Yet, recent phenomena such as Kamila Shamsie’s call for a ‘Year of Publishing Women’, Meytal Radzinski’s advocacy of ‘Women in Translation month’ each August, and the creation of the Women in Translation Tumblr and the ‘Warwick Prize for Women in Translation’ indicate the urgency of confronting the lack of gender equality in the English-language publishing industry with regard to translated literature.

This conference will explore the circuits of translation of women-authored literature into English, with the aim of promoting synergies between academic and publishing contexts. By questioning the power dynamics of the English-language book industry, it seeks to offer fresh insights into the cultural, social, economic and political implications of making foreign women writers available to English-speaking readers, considering where ‘borders’ lie in translated literature, and how and why women might destabilise them. Our feminist perspective challenges the lack of recognition and influence of women writers, and our transnational and geopolitical focus encourages a cross-cultural understanding already fostered by translation and by the pioneering work of organisations such as English PEN and Literature Across Frontiers. We aim to break through ‘borders’ – both real and figurative – and build ‘bridges’ between research areas and industry initiatives, bringing together representatives from all key groups of stakeholders to discuss and redress the imbalance affecting women writers in translation.

Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The geopolitics of translating women: which women writers are being translated, and who is translating them?
    Where do borders lie in translated literature?
  • The geopolitics of translating women: which women writers are being translated, and who is translating them?
  • Where do borders lie in translated literature?
  • The impact and legacy of the Year of Publishing Women
  • ‘Travelling women’: gender in/and the publishing industry
  • Translation as hospitality
  • Intimacy and distance: women writers exiled from their literary traditions
  • (Dis)integration in and through translation
  • Circuits of translation: new approaches to ‘translating cultures’
  • Transnational Feminist Studies: solidarity and sorority
  • Translation as activism: resisting borders and building bridges between cultures

Proposals:
Please email your proposal to the conference email address: . The deadline for sending proposals is 17 May 2019. Proposals should include the following information: Title of proposed paper, author’s name and affiliation, email address, abstract (300 words), biodata (100 words max.), audiovisual requirements.

Acceptance of proposals will be notified by the end of June 2019. Please note that there will be a small conference fee of £35 to cover administrative costs.

We are delighted to include in the Translating Women conference two events with acclaimed women writers and their translators.
These public sessions are free and open to all.

Négar Djavadi (1969-) fled from Iran at the age of eleven, arriving in France after crossing the mountains of Kurdistan on horseback with her mother and sister. Her debut novel, Disoriental (Désorientale), is a partly autobiographical account of displacement and survival, has won six literary prizes in France since its publication in 2016, and has been described as an accomplished example of ‘the art of storytelling’ (Le Monde). The translation by Tina Kover (Europa Editions, 2018) was longlisted for the inaugural National Book Award in Translated Literature in 2018, and has been celebrated as ‘a sophisticated debut’ (The Guardian) and a ‘remarkable novel’ (The New York Times).

Ariana Harwicz (1977-) was born in Buenos Aires and studied in Paris. She is a highly acclaimed figure in contemporary Argentinian literature: her debut novel, Die, My Love (Mátate, amor) pulses with brutal energy, and the English translation by Carolina Orloff and Sarah Moses (Charco Press, 2017) was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize and shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize in the same year. Harwicz’s follow-up novel, Feebleminded (La Débil Mental, which on its Spanish-language release was described by El País as ‘intensely poetic’), will be published by Charco Press in May 2019, translated by Carolina Orloff and Annie McDermott.

This conference has been made possible thanks to the generous support of: