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Children’s Literature in Translation, with Claire Storey, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and Emma Wright

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Date/Time
Date(s) - Wednesday, 19th May
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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In order to share stories across cultures and nations, it is vital to provide good translations of children’s books between languages. Claire Storey and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp are co-editors of the World Kid Lit blog, and part of the collective that runs World Kid Lit month in September, both of which draw attention to the excellent translation work that is already going on and campaign for more sharing of stories worldwide. Along with Emma Wright, publisher of children’s books in translation (among others), they will discuss the importance of translating children’s books with Deirdre O’Byrne.

Emma Daiʼan Wright is a British-Chinese-Vietnamese publisher based in Birmingham. She is the founder of The Emma Press, specialising in poetry, short stories, childrenʼs books and translations. The Emma Press has published over 500 writers across more than 100 books, and was recently awarded funding from Arts Council England through the Elevate programme, helping diverse-led arts organisations to build resilience.

Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp is a British literary translator. She translates fiction and non-fiction from Russian, German and Arabic. She has translated children’s books from Germany, Morocco, Palestine, Russia, Switzerland and Syria. As well as co-editing the World Kid Lit blog, Ruth also co-edits two region-specific blogs, Russian Kid Lit and ArabKidLitNow. Her translation of The Magical Bookshop by Katja Frixe is out in May from Rock the Boat. Her co-translation with Sue Copeland of Trees for the Absentees by Palestinian author Ahlam Bsharat was shortlisted for the GLLI Translated YA Prize 2020.

Claire Storey is a native British English speaker with a passion for foreign languages. She translates children’s and young adult books from German and Spanish, and has been shortlisted for international translation prizes. She visits schools to talk to children and young people about her experiences with language and encourage them to explore the world of language outside their classroom walls. Her translation of Me, In Between (written by Julya Rabinowich in Austrian German) is published in January 2022.

Tickets for this event are free, but you can order and pay for one or both of two related books along with your registration – UK only, P&P free. Register via Eventbrite.

The Adventures of Na Willa is translated from Indonesian and published by The Emma Press. Na Willa is a bright, adventurous girl living in Surabaya’s suburbs, her home in the middle of an alley surrounded by cypress trees. She spends her days running after trains with Dul (she always beats him), going down to the market with Mak, and thinking about how people can sing through radios. But while everyone else tells Na Willa what to do and who to be, Na Willa wants to be free. She doesn’t want to be “just” a girl, she doesn’t want to look just like Pak, or just Mak. She wants to be both and more.

 The Magical Bookshop by Katja Frixe was originally published in German, and its English translation by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp is published by Oneworld Publications.

What do you do when your best friend moves away? Clara takes comfort in her favourite place: Mrs Owl’s bookshop. Mrs Owl had a knack for finding the perfect book for every customer, before they even realised what it was they were looking for. Surrounded by books that spring to life, a rhyming cat and mounds of cinnamon buns, Clara never feels alone. But someone is determined to close the bookshop down. Now it’s up to Clara and her new friends to save it.