2018 in Review

SELTA’s new Chair Ian Giles looks back at 2018.

As you settle down to watch Dinner for One, I would like to thank you for another year of gott samarbete in SELTA.

Our membership figures remain strong – there are currently 72 members of SELTA. As I noted at the AGM in November, it’s especially reassuring that so many of our active members are at the beginning of their careers as literary translators.

2018 was a little quieter than 2017. It was great to see many familiar faces throughout the week during the London Book Fair at networking events, at the dinner and at our spring meeting. The panel of speakers at our spring meeting (Anna Blasiak, Ted Hodgkinson and Crystal Mahey-Morgan) provided plenty of food for thought about programming literary events. For the first time in several years, we held a SELTA event without the crutch of a nearby meeting in September with our back-to-basics workshop looking at non-fiction. Turnout was good and participants enthusiastic – this is hopefully something we will do again in future. I was thrilled to see such a high turn out for our AGM in November, with lively discussion ensuing as a result. We were also pleased to rekindle our relationship with the Scandinavian collection at the British Library as we welcomed Pardaad Chamsaz, curator of the Germanic Collections, to our meeting to tell us about the library’s resources.

SELTA members always tend to do well on the awards circuit and this year was no different. This year the Crime Writers’ Association awarded their International Dagger prize to Marlaine Delargy’s translation of After the Fire by Henning Mankell. Michael Gallagher’s translation of Mattias Boström’s From Holmes to Sherlock won the 2018 Agatha Award for nonfiction. Meanwhile, Peter Graves’ translation of Jakob Wegelius’ The Murderer’s Ape won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award.

SELTA members and Swedish literature did well on shortlists and longlists too. Annie Prime and Neil Smith both featured on the International Dublin Literary Award list of nominees for 2019. Peter Graves and Fiona Graham both had translations included on the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation longlist. In the world of crime, Sarah Death, Marlaine Delargy and Saskia Vogel were all shortlisted for the 2018 Petrona Award (pipped at the post by our STiNA colleague Rachel Willson-Broyles).

In 2019, the London Book Fair takes place a little earlier than usual on 12-14 March. Hopefully I will see many of you there for the usual, fruitful networking opportunities the event provides. We will hold our SELTA spring meeting in London (date tbc) while we hope to hold our AGM in combination with a workshop event in Edinburgh in the autumn. More details on this will follow with plenty of notice

Best wishes for the new year ahead!

Ian Giles
Chair of SELTA