Manchester in Translation 2022

22 Feb 2022 - 11.00AM - 0.00

Comma’s virtual conference Manchester in Translation returns to offer skills and advice to budding translators in the North of England and beyond 


This February, Comma Press will host a series of free online workshops and talks offering advice and insight into the world of translation. The third instalment of Manchester in Translation will be an opportunity for budding translators – or those with a passion for languages – in the North of England to develop practical skills for literary translation,

learn about the intersection between writing and translation, and consider translation as a political tool. 


The online conference will run over three days from the 22nd to the 24th of February and will include a keynote from award-winning translator of Spanish-English, Lawrence Schimel, two panel events and three workshops focusing on literary translation from Portuguese, Turkish and French into English. 


The keynote and panel events will run from 11am-12pm each morning, and the workshops will run from 2-4.30pm each afternoon. The keynote and panel events will be available to playback after the live broadcasts.


All workshops translate into English, therefore it is essential that all participants must have proficiency in the source language (reading proficiency not just spoken) and have a high proficiency in English. Groups will be limited to a maximum of 15 people to allow for individual attention, and applicants will be asked to answer a few quick questions when booking to determine their suitability for the workshop. This information will be shared with the workshop facilitators who will review before confirming your place.

8 places on each workshop are reserved for residents of Greater Manchester. These tickets are currently hidden. Please email Nia at to confirm that you are a resident of Greater Manchester and be provided with the code to reveal tickets and book. Please join the waitlist if you are outside of this bracket and all general places have been taken.


Manchester in Translation 2022 Schedule


Day 1 - Tuesday 22 February 

11-12pm | Lawrence Schimel: On the dual practice of translating and being translated between mother and stepmother tongues 

Live from the Comma Press YouTube channel. Book now.


Writing and translating from and into his ‘stepmother tongue’ of Spanish, Lawrence will offer insights from his career and share advice to emerging translators. He will discuss how being translated, as well as translating the work of others, informs his dual practice as both writer and translator. 


Lawrence Schimel is an award-winning bilingual American writer, translator, and anthologist. His work spans novels, graphic novels and poetry collections and has been translated into over 40 languages. His graphic novels have won a Crystal Kite Award from SCBWI and have been selected for the White Ravens from the International Youth Library in Munich and chosen for IBBY’s Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities three times. He has also been awarded the Lamda Literary prize twice which recognises the crucial role LGBTQ writers play in shaping the world. He translates between Spanish and English and along with Layla Benitez-James is a recipient of the 2022 NEA Translation Fellowship to translate HIJA DEL CAMINO by Lucía Asué Momío Rubio into English.


2-4.30pm | Portuguese-English Workshop led by Rahul Bery. Book now.


Rahul Bery translates from Portuguese and Spanish to English, and is based in Cardiff, Wales. His latest book translation is Kokoschka's Doll by Afonso Cruz, and his debut translation, Rolling Fields by David Trueba, has recently been nominated for the 2021 Translators' Association First Translation Prize. He was the British Library's translator in residence from 2018-2019 and he does outreach work with the Stephen Spender Trust and the Translation Exchange at Queen's College, Oxford University.


Day 2 - Wednesday 23 February

11-12pm | Panel 1 Fight Between the Lines: Translation as Literary Activism 

Live from the Comma Press YouTube channel. Book now.


While opening doors across languages, can translated texts be a tool for societal transformation? From words untouched to the radical manipulation of texts, translation is an intrinsically activist act. This panel discusses the role of the translator and how, with the help of the wider industry, we can carve out new spaces for literary expression as a form of resistance. 


Katharine Halls is an Arabic-to-English translator from Cardiff, Wales. She was awarded a 2021 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant to translate Haytham El-Wardany’s short story collection Things That Can’t Be Fixed. Her translations for the stage have been performed at the Royal Court and the Edinburgh Festival. 


Alex Valente (he/him) is a white European currently living on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ land. He is a literary translator from Italian into English, though he also dabbles with French and RPGs, and is co-editor of The Norwich Radical. His work has been published in NYT Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, The Short Story Project, and PEN Transmissions.


Alireza Abiz is an Iranian poet, literary critic and translator. He has written extensively on Persian contemporary literature and culture. His book Censorship of Literature in Post-Revolutionary Iran: Politics and Culture since 1979 was published by Bloomsbury in 2020. He has published five collections of poetry in Persian, including London Underground (winner of the 2018 Shamlou Poetry Award) and has translated the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, Basil Bunting, Derek Walcott, Allen Ginsberg, C.K. Williams and others into Persian. He has also worked as a journalist and editor, and is currently trustee of the Poetry Translation Centre.


2-4.30pm | Turkish-English Workshop led by Filiz Emre. Book now.


Filiz Emre is a Turkish translator based in London. She has translated numerous children’s books from English to Turkish and works closely with Turkish speaking communities in London as a public sector interpreter. She delivers workshops with the education initiative Shadow Heroes, and regularly volunteers for various community projects. 


Day 3 - Thursday 24 February

11-12pm | Panel 2 Found in Translation: Translation as an autonomous creative practice

Live from the Comma Press YouTube channel. Book now.


Is translation a form of creative writing? Does the act of translation have the potential to strengthen, support and ultimately expand the creative writing process? Can tackling the creative challenges posed by translating texts expand the parameters of a writer's work? This panel features literary translators who are also writers, poets and publishers, and asks how being a translator can ultimately inform their creative practice. 


Saskia Vogel is an author and translator from Los Angeles, now living in Berlin. Permission (2019), her debut novel about love, loss and BDSM, was published in five languages. She was awarded the 2021 Berlin Senate Grant for Non-German-language Literature for her writing and was a Pen America Translation Award Finalist for her translation of Jessica Schiefaur's Girls Lost. Aednan by Linnea Axelsson, forthcoming with Knopf in 2023, is the focus of her work as Princeton University's Fall 2022 Translator in Residence. Her recent translations include Johanne Lykke Holm's Strega, Karolina Ramqvist's Bear Woman, and Steve Sem-Sandberg's W. Previously she worked as Granta magazine's global publicist and as an editor at the AVN Media Network.


Meena Kandasamy is an anti-caste activist, poet, novelist and translator. As a translator, she has translated the speeches and essays of Dravidian ideologue Periyar EV Ramasamy and Dalit leader Thol. Thirumavalavan on caste annihilation, women’s liberation and social justice. She has also translated the poetry of Tamil guerrillas and contemporary feminists. Her translation of Tamil novelist Salma’s Manamiyangal (Women Dreaming, Tilted Axis, 2020) won a PEN Translates Award. Her feminist translation of the Inbathupaal (The Book of Desire) from the Thirukkural is forthcoming. Follow her on Twitter @meenakandasamy


Jen Calleja is a writer, literary translator and publisher. Her recent publications include the story collection I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For (Prototype) and the pamphlet essay Goblins (Rough Trade Books). Her writing has appeared in Best British Short Stories 2021 (Salt), The White Review, Ambit, The London Magazine, and elsewhere, and she writes a column on translation for the Brixton Review of Books. Jen was the inaugural Translator in Residence at the British Library and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019 and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize 2018 for her translations from German. Alongside Kat Storace, Jen is co-publisher at Praspar Press, a micro-press for Maltese literature in English and in English translation.


2-4.30pm | French- English Workshop led by Sarah Ardizzone. Book now.


Sarah Ardizzone is a translator from the French-speaking world with some fifty titles to her name. Her work spans picture books, graphic novels and travel memoirs, as well as children’s, YA and literary fiction. Her time in Marseille led to a special interest in sharp dialogue and multi-heritage slang. Authors include Faïza Guène, Gaël Faye, Yasmina Reza, Daniel Pennac and Alexandre Dumas. Sarah is a Royal Literary Fund Bridge Fellow, and was co-chair for English PEN Translates. She currently develops live multilingual performances for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Twice recipient of the Marsh award, she has won the Scott-Moncrieff prize and a New York Times notable book accolade. Her translation of Discretion by Faïza Guène will be published by the Westbourne Press in May. Men Don’t Cry by Faïza Guène (Cassava Press, trans. Ardizzone) is out now.


Manchester in Translation is part of a series of events held on International Mother Language Day 2022 celebrating and promoting literature in the community languages of Manchester, UNESCO City of Literature.