BCLT - British Centre for Literary Translation

British Council Literature Department

The British Council Literature Department promotes British and Commonwealth literature internationally, working with British Council offices overseas, and other organisations, such as universities, publishers and arts organisations.
Translation is a priority in our work, both in practical ways and as a theme which underlies all cross-cultural communication. Translation of literatures into and from English is one of the most successful and straightforward ways of encouraging an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. This furthers the Department's aim of promoting British literature, and it also promotes translation as an art form in its own right. The Literature Department aims to facilitate dialogue between writers from other countries and writers from Britain, and to raise awareness in the UK of literature from overseas.


What is the BCLT?
The British Centre for Literary Translation was established in 1989 at the University of East Anglia in Norwich by the German writer, W.G.Sebald. The BCLT is funded by the Literature Department of the Arts Council of England and the European Commission as the UK Centre of Literary Translation.
It exists to promote literary translation and literary translators. It offers per year 24 EC-funded translation residencies of one month. It also has a Charles Wallace Foundation Fellowship for a translator from India to work at the BCLT. These cover the cost of travel, accommodation and a small daily allowance. The Centre organises seminars, conferences and other activities throughout the UK often in collaboration with other organisations keen to develop readerships for literature in English translation. The BCLT relies on external funding and is always seeking to raise funding for more residencies, particularly for non-European translators.

What has it done recently?
In January 1999 the BCLT hosted the Symposium on Literary Translation and Culture 2000 organised by the ITI Aiane - Translator as Reader and Writer - network. In March it launched in Norwich a novel by Iorgis Iatromannolakis, translated by David Connolly (Dedalus). In Oxford, there was a day seminar with John Rutherford, Aline Schulman and Barber van de Pol, the English, French and Dutch translators of new translations of Don Quixote with Translation Research in Oxford.
In April and June, in collaboration with the Spanish Translators' House, it organised for the British Council seminars in Norwich and Valencia respectively on Professional Strategies of Publishing Hispanic and English Literatures in Translation. These events included launches of Ana Herrera's translation of Tariq Ali's Saladdin and Margaret Jull Costa's translation of Bernardo Atxaga's The Solitary Woman. During term-time there were weekly open research seminars and workshops in Norwich.