The first Ukrainian workshop took place within the framework of the British Center for Literary Translation

As part of this year’s BCLT Online Summer School program, the first Ukrainian workshop was hosted by translator Olena Jennings and Ukrainian author Artem Chekh.

The participants translated an excerpt from a book by the Ukrainian author who is currently serving in the armed forces.

The British Center for Literary Translation (BCLT)-based summer school has been running for 23 years and brings together writers and translators from different languages ​​into English. Participants attend seminars and creative sessions, listen to short lectures covering various aspects of literary translation theory and practice. BCLT was founded by the German writer Winfried Sebald, in whose honor lectures on the art of translation are given every year by famous authors, including Arundhati Roy, Margaret Atwood, etc.

As part of the Ukrainian workshop, a group of 10 translators from Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany spent the week translating an excerpt from Artem Chech’s book Who are you? (Czernowitz Meridian, 2021). The book tells the story of a young boy, Timofiy, and a grown man, Felix. Timofiy’s life is just beginning, and Felix’s life seems to be coming to an end due to the trauma he experienced in the military. He fought in Afghanistan for many years and now suffers from PTSD. As little Timofiy explores who he is, Felix tries to come to terms with his past.

The author’s wife, Iryna Tsilyk, a well-known Ukrainian filmmaker, joined one of the workshops (The Earth is blue like an orange), who shot the feature film Rock. Paper. Grenade – an adaptation of the novel Who are you? She spoke to the participants about the translation from the language of the book into the language of the cinema.

“Our most interesting meeting was when Iryna Tsilyk joined us. She talked about her movie “Rock”. Paper. Granada’ and we listened to how the text can be translated on screen. The workshop began with a greeting from the writer. Artem Chech beautifully read an excerpt for all participants, not just Ukrainians. There were a lot of lovely comments in the chat,” says Olena Jennings, curator of the Ukrainian workshop and translator.

The main objective of the workshop was to give translators more confidence in their work and to create a support network so that they could have their work recognized and eventually published.

“During discussions and networking, many translators mentioned living in a bubble. I agree that translation is a lonely job. This is why I am so happy to have had the opportunity to join such a wonderful community in addition to learning some translation ideas that will improve my work”, said one of the workshop participants.

On the last day of school, the participants of the Ukrainian workshop and the curator presented their work. They discussed the problems they encountered during their work with other participants from different countries – Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, etc.

The online summer school was organized by the British Center for Literary Translation (BCLT) in partnership with the National Center for Writing (NCW). The Ukrainian to English translation workshop was organized in partnership with the Ukrainian Institute as part of the UK/Ukraine Culture Season.


The British Center for Literary Translation is a leading research center for literary translation research and support within the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing to University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.