PEN Translates Award For New Burmese Story Anthology

Yezet, an anthology of soon-to-be published Burmese short stories is one of 16 recipients of the most recent round of grants from the PEN Translates awards in the UK …

The PEN Translates award are given by English PEN to encourage publishers in the UK to discover and publish literature from other languages by offering grants to cover the costs of the translation.   The award is open to any UK based publisher and for any work of literature (non-fiction, poetry, short stories and novels) and are highly competitive.

Yezet will feature 25 Burmese short stories from the 1950’s to contemporary writers and is a collaboration between Strangers Press, an imprint of the University of East Anglia, the UK’s National Centre for Writing and Myanmar Book Plaza in Yangon.

The translator, Alfred Birnbaum, is no stranger himself to Burmese literary translation, having translated Nu Nu Yi (Innwa)’s novel ‘Smile as they Bow‘ and my co-editor on the ‘Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds‘ ethnic language anthology.

Though English PEN state this is the first Burmese language work to have received the award, Ko Ko Thett’s and James Byrne’s ‘Bones Will Crow‘, did receive an earlier iteration of this award (under a slightly different name – Writers in Translation award) back in 2012.

Myanmar actually features again on the list of winners, with a non-fiction work translated from the original French, ‘First They Erased Our Names: A Rohingya Speaks’ by Habiburahman and Sophie Ansel, translated by Andrea Reece.

Yezet will be published in the UK in November 2019.

Image Credit @ British Council