The 2017 Wales PEN Cymru and Wales Literature Exchange Translation Challenge is to translate a poem by Turkish writer, küçük İskender, into English.*
The Translation Challenge was established in 2009 to promote the important role of translators in helping to make literature travel, and to draw attention to literary translation as one of the creative arts.
The English-language winner will be awarded a prize of £250 in a special event at the Hay Festival in May 2017, while the winning translation will be published in Poetry Wales.
Derman İskender Över who goes by the pen-name of küçük İskender was born in 1964. He first entered the public gaze in 1985 and was given the title ‘marginal poet’ because he was unafraid to make the darker side of life in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district the subject of his poetry. İskender is one of Turkey’s few openly gay figures and although he was once targeted for his sexuality by a religious newspaper who were alleged to have sent a gang of men to his home to attack him physically, he has never been anything other than openly gay and proud.
He has published over 22 books of poetry and the poem ‘bahçede ölüm’ comes from 2016’s Mayıs Giremez. İskender won the ‘Orhon Murat Arıburunu Prize’ in the year 2000 for his poetry book entitled One Pair of Black Leather Gloves. He has also published a diary, three novels, two collected works and several essays. The poetry of küçük İskender has appeared in English Kalyna Review,Turkish Poetry Today 2015, Assaracus Journal, Gay and Lesbian Review, translated by Caroline Stockford. He moved to the publishing house Can Yayınevi ın 2016 and published two new books, Her Şey Ayrı Yazılır and Waliz Bir.
The translations will be juged by Caroline Stockford a poet, translator and playwright living in Aberystwyth. She received her MA in the History of the Turkish Language from SOAS, London University in 2000. Caroline translates Turkish literature and poetry and has participated in the Cunda Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature since 2013. In 2014 she appeared at the Eskişehir International Poetry Festival and has given several seminars in Turkey on Welsh-Turkish poetry translation. Her poems have been published in Into the Void, Sharp as Lemons and Make time for Aberystwyth. She has read at Stanza, Radnor Fringe and at spoken word events in Wales. Her poems in Turkish appeared in bi-monthly poetry magazine Gard Şiir Dergisi. She has also written for Şiirden poetry magazine and is the Chair of Wales PEN Cymru’s Translation, Linguistic Rights and Writers in Prison Committee.
Full details of the Translation Challenge, including the poem and entry details, can be found on the Wales PEN Cymru website. Closing date for entries: 31 March 2017.
2017 Translation Challenge partners are as follows: Wales Literature Exchange, Aberystwyth University, Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru, Wales PEN Cymru and Swansea University.
* This is not the poem for the 2017 competition in Welsh. Details of the Welsh language competition can be found on the Welsh language page.