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Twelve UK British writers announced for British Council translation competition

Twelve UK writers will have extracts of their books translated into Russian and showcased in Moscow as part of the British Council’s UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature 2016. The extracts will form the basis of a competition for English literary translators in Russia, which will be awarded on the UK pavilion at Russia’s annual 18th Non/Fiction book fair in Moscow this November.

The competition aims to introduce previously untranslated voices to Russian readers and refresh Russian readers’ knowledge of contemporary British literature. It is also intended to assist Russian literary editors to explore distinctive British writing for acquisition and support UK publishers in their working relationships with Russian publishers. The competition will provide a platform for outstanding UK writers to share their work with new readers in the highest quality Russian translation.

In addition to being showcased at the fair, all the translated extracts will appear online on the British Council’s websites in Russia and the UK, and promoted via the British Council’s media partners and social media platforms

The list of twelve titles, selected by The Literary Platform in consultation with The British Council, spans fiction and non-fiction, and represents a diverse range of British writing. The works are set in metropolitan, suburban and natural settings. These titles tackle issues of loss, race, identity, family, religion, migration, politics, sexuality, feminism, motherhood and the digital age.

The twelve selected books are:

Andrew Michael Hurley, The Loney (John Murray)

Bernardine Evaristo, Mr Loverman (Hamish Hamilton)

Claire Fuller, Our Endless Numbered Days (Fig Tree)

Cynan Jones, The Dig (Granta)

Jackie Kay, Red Dust Road (Picador)

Laline Paull, The Bees (4th Estate)

Laurence Scott, The Four-Dimensional Human (William Heinemann)

Louise Welsh, A Lovely Way to Burn (John Murray)

Marion Coutts, The Iceberg: A Memoir (Atlantic Books)

Patrick Barkham, Coastlines (Granta)

Paul McVeigh, The Good Son (Salt)

Sunjeev Sahota, The Year of the Runaways (Picador)

The British Council is leading the UK’s Year of Language and Literature in Russia and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is leading Russia’s celebrations in the UK. As part of the programme developed with support from VisitBritain and UKTI (UK Trade and Investment), an ambitious series of events will be held across Russia throughout 2016.

Announcing the twelve titles at London Book Fair, Cortina Butler, Director Literature at the British Council said:

‘This wonderful selection represents all shades of UK fiction and non-fiction writing today. We hope that this competition will intrigue and excite translators in Russia and stimulate interest from Russian publishers and readers in new and exciting voices from the UK.’

Doug Wallace, Creative Director UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature 2016 said:

‘People-to-people and institution-to-institution relationships are at the heart of The UK- Russia Year of Language and Literature 2016, as they were during the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014. These seasons support meaningful and sustained collaboration in the cultural sphere between the UK and Russia.’

Sophie Rochester, CEO at The Literary Platform said:

‘The selection of this list has been a fascinating process. If one thing does link contemporary British writing then it is its eclectic nature. From growing up in Glasgow to exploring our natural coastlines, from rural Wales to Belfast, from post-industrial cities to Hackney – this exciting list of titles will introduce the Russian publishing industry to the vibrant and diverse range of British contemporary writing today.’

The UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature is a year-long joint celebration of written and spoken culture between Britain and Russia. For more information visit

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