Translation Exchanges: events from the Translation Exchange on international literature and literary translation, including our termly International Book Clubs. Browse the tiles at the bottom of the page.

Upcoming Events – Aoko Matsuda and Polly Barton Joint Residency

From 1st – 10th June 2023, in partnership with the Sasakawa Foundation, the Daiwa Foundation and the Stephen Spender Trust, the Queen’s College Translation Exchange will welcome award-winning Japanese author and translator Aoko Matsuda to Oxford for a residency with her English translator, Polly Barton. This joint residency forms part of Polly Barton’s ongoing TORCH HCP Visiting Fellowship and year-long translation residency at The Queen’s College, Oxford

A conversation on translation and Where the Wild Ladies Are with Polly Barton and Aoko Matsuda.

Thursday 1st June, 7-8.30pm. Daunt Books, Summertown, Oxford. £5 tickets including a drink.

Aoko Matsuda’s brilliant Where the Wild Ladies Are is a collection of feminist retellings of traditional Japanese ghost stories. Funny, surreal and profound, the stories explore women’s lives and the ways they have changed in Japan. The collection was translated into English for Tilted Axis Press by Polly Barton, translator and author of Fifty Sounds & Porn: An Oral History. Aoko & Polly will be in conversation with Catriona Parry, discussing writing, translating & the collection.

Telling Japanese Ghost Stories with Aoko Matsuda and Polly Barton.

Saturday 3rd June, 2pm. Taylorian Library, Oxford. Open to 13-18 year-olds. Free.

Forget Halloween – in Japan, summer is the season for scary stories. During the Buddhist festival of Obon, which takes place in mid-August, it is believed that spirits from the afterlife return to roam the Earth. Traditionally, Japanese ghost stories are told around this festival, when the chills that run down your spine also provide relief from the intense summer heat.

During this creative workshop, you will join Japanese writer Aoko Matsuda – the internationally-acclaimed author of Where the Wild Ladies Are, a collection of contemporary feminist retellings of traditional Japanese ghost stories – and her English translator Polly Barton, to learn more about Japanese folklore and its relevance in Japan today, as well as their experiences writing and translating the book.

Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese ghost and yōkai tales, you will then write your own summer ghost story. At the end of the workshop, you will have the opportunity to read your story aloud in a traditional ghost story circle – if you dare!

Feminist Praxis in Writing, Translating and Publishing

Wednesday 7th June 5pm, Pembroke College. Free.

How do we move towards and embed feminist practices and politics in writing, translating and publishing? Join us for a conversation between internationally-acclaimed author and translator Aoko Matsuda, award-winning writer and translator Polly Barton, and researcher and translator of Japanese literature Dr Juliana Buriticá Alzate, who will reflect and draw upon their experiences as both writers and translators to explore vital questions and challenges of feminist praxis and solidarity in the literary world.

The conversation will begin at 5:25pm. Please join us from 5pm for an informal drinks reception. There will be time after the talk for questions and discussion.

Japanese Creative Translation Workshop with Aoko Matsuda and Polly Barton at Oxford Translation Day.

Saturday 10th June, 11.30am. St Anne’s College. Free.

Past events

Translating Topol: Jáchym Topol and Alex Zucker in conversation

Tuesday, 7th February 2023, 5pm-6.30pm, Shulman Auditorium, The Queen’s College.

The Queen’s Translation Exchange and Czech Studies at Oxford are delighted to host celebrated Czech writer Jáchym Topol and leading translator Alex Zucker.

This event celebrates the publication of Topol’s novel A Sensitive Person in Zucker’s translation (Yale University Press, 2023). Author and translator will join QTE Translator-in-Residence, Polly Barton, for a round-table discussion on the challenges of literary translation. This will be followed by a Q&A with Topol and Zucker, featuring readings from the book.

Click here to find out more about ‘A Sensitive Person’.

The organisers would like to thank the Ilchester Fund for the generous support that has made this event possible.

Brazil Week: Portuguese Creative Translation Workshop

Friday 10th February 2023, 1pm–2.30pm, Lecture Room 2, Taylor Institute Library, Oxford.

This year’s Brazil Week takes Indigenous Brazil as its focus. We are delighted that Rahul Bery, teacher, translator and close colleague of the Translation Exchange, will be leading a Portuguese to English creative translation workshop. We will be translating sections from Micheliny Verunschk’s O som do rugido da onça (2021). This event is a collaboration between the Sub-Faculty of Portuguese and the Translation Exchange at Queen’s College, Oxford.

Translating for the Theatre

Friday 3rd March 2023, 5pm-7pm, Shulman Auditorium, The Queen’s College.

Translating for the Theatre with Anne Monfort: workshop and public discussion.
Anne Monfort is a theatre translator and the artistic director of Day-for-Night Theatre Company. Translation has been at the heart of her work for the stage since she became the first director in France to stage the German playwright, Falk Richter. In this workshop, the audience will watch Anne and students from across the University translate scenes together, bringing together a mix of languages to solve the particular problems a translator faces when working on a text for performance. Following the workshop, Anne will answer questions from the audience about her work.

Open to all. Please reserve your free tickets here.

Translation Slam at the Oxford Literary Festival

Monday, 27 March 2023, 4pm-5.15pm. Oxford Martin School Lecture Theatre.

Two literary translators, Ruth Clarke and Annie McDermott, share and debate their English versions of the same text, a short passage drawn from contemporary Spanish literature. The two will compare their choices, revealing the reasoning behind them and the creative machinations of the translator’s mind. Discussions are chaired by Polly Barton, translator-in-residence at Queen’s College Oxford.

The translation slam is a format rapidly gaining popularity at literary festivals around the world. It offers a glimpse into the overarching and nitty-gritty choices of the translator and is a must for anyone interested in language, translation and international literature.

Clarke works from Italian, French and Spanish, and has translated an eclectic range of work by authors from Benin to Venezuela, including Cristina Caboni’s debut novel The Secret Ways of Perfume, Aurora Lassaletta Atienza’s memoir The Invisible Brain Injury and Evelina Santangelo’s haunting novel From Another World. She is the translator in residence for Durham University and New Writing North. McDermott is a literary translator working from Spanish and Portuguese into English. Her translations include Empty Words and The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero, Dead Girls and Brickmakers by Selva Almada, The Rooftop by Fernanda Trías and Wars of the Interior by Joseph Zárate.

In association with Queen’s Translation Exchange and TORCH as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme.

Booking essential (£7–£12.50): Please book here.