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As Leonard Cohen has written, ‘there’s a blaze of light in every word’. Words shape our personal identities, our relationships and our societies. They are the crux of all human interactions. The relationship between writer, translator and reader is explicated by award-winning poets Cécile Menon and Sophie Herxheimer and translator Ros Schwartz.
Cécile Menon is a publisher, editor and translator. She is the joint-laureate, with Natasha Lehrer, of the 2016 Scott Moncrieff Prize for Translation. In 2014 she founded Les Fugitives, an award-winning literary independent press whose mission is to introduce to readers in the UK and beyond Francophone writers, mostly women, and to publish first English translations of short works of fiction and non-fiction, and everything between the two. She has published work by Mireille Gansel, Noémi Lefebvre and Nathalie Léger.
Sophie Herxheimer is an award-winning writer, artist, poet, and teacher. She has held residencies for LIFT, Southbank Centre and Transport for London, and her recent publications include The Listening Forest, The New Concrete and Voyage.
Ros Schwartz has translated a range of fiction and non-fiction from Francophone authors as diverse as Sembène Ousmane, Yasmina Khadra, Aziz Chouaki and Dominique Eddé. In 2010 she published a new translation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, and she is currently involved in the retranslation of George Simenon’s oeuvre for Penguin Classics. She has been awarded Chevalier d’Honneur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Bidisha is a broadcaster, film-maker, journalist and critic specialising in international affairs, social justice, arts and culture and international human rights. She writes for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Observer and Poetry Review, and broadcasts for BBC, Channel 4 and Sky News. Her most recent book, Asylum and Exile: The Hidden Voices of London, is based on her work with asylum seekers and refugees. Her first short film, An Impossible Poison, premiered at the Breaking Ground festival in Berlin in November 2017.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Cécile Menon will step in for Mireille Gansel.