Arabic has gone from de facto English-language invisibility to the “fourth-most-translated” literary language in the US. Part of this surge in sightliness comes from the funding support behind Arabic translations, and, this year, both the “PEN Promotes” and “PEN Translates” grants are supporting Arabic translations:
French still has Arabic outnumbered –with three “Promotes” and two “Translates” grants — but there is no other language that comes close. Chinese and Albanian both have two titles, one on each list. All other languages are represented singly.
Moreover, two of the French titles (one by Algerian Boualem Sansal and another by half-Mauritanian, half-French Karim Miské) were arguably written by Arabs.
The two grants will support a total of 21 publications, including its first PEN-supported Welsh translated. Samantha Schnee, chair of Writers in Translation, said in a prepared statement that, “‘This current list of PEN-supported titles…will greatly enrich the landscape of publishing in the UK for years to…
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