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This year we’ve shared the work of some fantastic writers from around the world. These writers have revealed their thoughts and expertise on a wide range of issues – from exploring what Brexit might mean for literary translation, to the five best fictional survival guides for a rapidly changing world. These eight blogs and essays are just some of our favourites from 2016 – our Free Word best reads. Take the time to find one you missed or rediscover a forgotten gem.
Our event during Refugee Week in June explored stories of migration. Ahead of this event, Wioletta Greg (Grzgorzewska) asked young Polish immigrants in the UK how it feels to be part of two cultures. Their responses – translated by Anna Hyde – are at once touching and humorous accounts of family, friendship and tradition.
This year, The Literary Consultancy (TLC) celebrated 20 years of work with writers. In November, as part of TLC’s 20th Anniversary Conference, Free Word asked four international writers to explore the theme ‘The Book Inside’. All four are part of our best reads list, but we’ve chosen to highlight Salma, a poet and novelist from a small village in southern India who explored the challenges she has faced as a writer. She shares how the act of writing has allowed her to free herself.
One of our favourite essays from 2016 looks at what happens when flooding (literally) hits home. Rachel McCarthy, a climatologist and poet, writes about her experience of the French floods in May this year. She looks at how we must act now – together – to adapt for the future.
Fourth on our list of best reads looks at a pivotal moment in the year. Following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, translator Lindsey Ford explored the implications of Brexit for literary translation. We also asked experts on free expression and the climate movement to explain the challenges and opportunities that this outcome brings to these issues.
Here’s a best read of the best books looking at our environment. Our climate and our world are changing rapidly around us, a fact that can sometimes feel overwhelming. During COP22 in November, Mary Woodbury from eco-fiction.com shared five books to help us harness human nature for the greater environmental good.
Free speech within university settings has been widely debated this year. In April, we asked Robert Sharp from English PEN to explain the concept of No Platform and what it means for freedom of expression.
Writer and translator Raph Cormack discusses The Book of Khartoum, a short story collection he co-edited, within the context of the political climate in Khartoum, Sudan. This anthology gives English speakers a glimpse into the cultural life of the city.
We return to school for the final blog of our best reads of 2016. Marta Dziurosz, our Translator in Residence for 2015-16, led a multilingual writing project at The Norwood School, London. In this blog, she presents the students’ anthology of bilingual creative writing and reflects on her experiences with the group.
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We welcome author Bakhtiyar Ali to discuss I Stared at the Night of the City with his translator Kareem Abdulrahman. The book is a lyrical interpretation of contemporary Kurdistan with a kaleidoscope of unreliable narrators.
Listen to Thomas Rydhal discusses his debut crime novel The Hermit. An instant bestseller in Denmark and winner of the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel.
Listen back to Body Politic: Freedom of Movement looking at how censorship affects the language of the body. Dance Umbrella with Free Word, Index on Censorship and One Dance UK.