Fight Between the Lines: Translation as Literary Activism

  • DATE

    23 February 2022

  • TIME

    11:00 am to 12:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome



Part of Manchester In Translation with Comma Press. A panel discussion with three professional translators on how translating becomes a form of resistance.

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.

This keynote will be streamed live to the Comma Press YouTube channel. You will be able to follow a link to the YouTube event from this Eventbrite page, or from the Comma Press website, social media pages (@commapress) and YouTube channel.

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 translation, with Adam Talib, of Raja Alem’s novel The Dove’s Necklace received the 2017 Sheikh Hamad Award and was shortlisted for the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize. 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.