Yarri Kamara

Yarri Kamara receives PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant 2020.

Yarri Kamara was announced as a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant 2020 recipient on December 23, 2019.

The PEN/Heim Translation Fund awards grants to promote the publication and reception of translated world literature in English. It was established in 2003 by a gift from Priscilla and Michael Henry Heim in response to the dismayingly low number of literary translations appearing in English.

“Since 2003, the PEN/Heim Translation Fund has built a strong legacy of support for translators and their projects, with over 200 translations supported to date. Michael Henry Heim, whose generosity made the grants possible and who oversaw the jury’s work in the early years of the fund, would be tremendously proud of this year’s outstanding crop of winning proposals, a group of vibrant and necessary texts from nine nations on four continents, including fiction, nonfiction, short stories, and poetry,” said Samantha Schnee.

The Translation Fund this past year received 262 eligible applications from a wide array of languages of origin, genres, and time periods. Each 2020 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant winning project will receive a grant of $3,481, and the winner of the PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature will receive a $5,000 grant, to support the translation’s completion.

One of these grantees is;

Book: So Distant From My Life
Author: Monique Ilboudo
Original Language: French
Translation grantee: Yarri Kamara

Burkinabe author Monique Ilboudo’s novel “So Distant From My Life” offers a compelling and complex portrait of migration, one of the defining global concerns of the 21st century, through the story of a young man who seeks opportunities in Europe that are unavailable to him in Africa.

Yarri Kamara, an emerging translator from Sierra Leone and Uganda who now lives in Burkina Faso, has rendered Ilboudo’s original French text in a West African English idiom that conveys the sharp humor, lucid descriptions, and urgency of the original.




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