Ukrainian workshop at the 2022 BCLT Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School

About the project

The BCLT International Literary Translation & Creative Writing Summer School has been running for 23 years and this year they will be hosting their first Ukrainian-English workshop.

The first Ukrainian-English workshop was led by experienced literary translator Olena Jennings with Ukrainian author Artem Chekh.

The Summer School took place online (18-22 July 2022) and was delivered by the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) in partnership with the National Centre for Writing (NCW).  

The British Centre for Literary Translation is a research centre within the  School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia  in Norwich, UK. 

About the BCLT

The BCLT Summer School brought together writers and translators from around the world for a one-week programme of hands-on translation and creative writing practice. The core activity of the week was the literary translation workshops, led by experienced literary translators and editors, working from a range of languages into and occasionally out of English. Also included in the programme were two creative writing sessions for literary translators with authors writing in English, as well as plenary sessions and short talks addressing various aspects of the theory and practice of literary translation, with a focus on professional development for translators.

About the worshop

A group of 10 Ukrainian-English literary translators from Ukraine, UK, USA and Germany has spent the week translating an extract of Artem Chekh’s Who Are You? (Meridian Czernowitz, 2021). The primary aim was to train the group, give them more confidence in their work, and to create a supportive network for them to be able to get their work recognised and ultimately published.

Who Are You? takes place in Soviet times in a small city in Central Ukraine, beginning in 1986. It is the story of a young boy, Timofiy, and a grown man, Felix. While Timofiy’s life is just beginning, Felix’s feels like his is near its end because of the trauma he experienced in the army. He served in the army for many years, fought in Afghanistan, and is left with PTSD. As Timofiy discovers who he is, Felix tries to fight back his past.

The group of translators began their journey into translation by discussing the challenges of the title that may seem simple at first glance. They then explored an excerpt from the text, addressing translation challenges such as voice and dialogue. Each workshop started with an exercise to stretch translation muscles. While Artem has been fighting the war, Iryna Tsilyk, his wife and an award-winning filmmaker, joined one of the workshops to speak about the translation of the book into film.


Participants of the Ukrainian workshop at the 2022 BCLT Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School: 

Katya Yatsuk (Ukraine), Nina Murray (UK/USA), Hanna Leliv (Ukraine), Lyubov Palenyy (USA), Olena Ebel (Germany), Svitlana Pereplotchykova (Ukraine), Yelyzaveta Bolotova (Lisa) (Ukraine), Anna Halas (Ukraine), Darya Levchenko (Ukraine), Tetiana Savchynska (Ukraine).