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In Brief

PEN Translation Fund Brings World Literature to Americans

03 July 2012

Close-up of Lutz Seiler (AP Images)

The PEN American Center, which works to advance literature and freedom of expression, recently announced 12 new translation projects for 2012. Grant recipients will translate works by acclaimed international authors, giving Anglophone readers wider access to literature from around the world.

Thanks to the PEN American Center (PEN), readers in the United States and throughout the rest of the English-speaking world are being introduced to acclaimed international authors whose works might otherwise remain unknown to them.

PEN is a New York–based nonprofit organization that works to advance literature, defend free expression and foster international literary fellowship. Established in 1922, PEN has a membership of 3,300 writers, editors and translators, and is the largest of the 144 centers that belong to International PEN, the worldwide association of writers that defends those who are harassed, imprisoned or killed for their views.

As PEN announced the recipients of its 2012 Translation Fund grants, PEN President Peter Godwin spoke about the organization’s mission to bring a wider cross section of world literature to Anglophone readers.

“Year after year, the PEN Translation Fund facilitates the elegant translation into English of works from around the world, helping to make important writers accessible to an Anglophone readership and to open our minds and hearts to other peoples,” Godwin said. “The crucial cultural work of the fund and of the translators it recognizes goes to the very essence of why PEN was started 90 years ago.”

Twelve translation projects will be funded for 2012, encompassing works by authors from Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia and South America. One of those authors is Lutz Seiler (seen here), widely regarded as one of the major German poets of his generation. Alexander Booth will translate Seiler’s Im Felderlatein (In Latin Fields), a collection of poems in German.