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Industry Insider – Translating Women’s Non-Fiction Narratives

25 June @ 15:00 - 16:00 BST

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Are there common threads globally in non-fiction narratives by women? Why do translators choose to focus on such narratives?

Translators Association Co-Chair Christina MacSweeney talks to Barbara Ofosu-Somuah, Bela Shayevich, Natasha Lehrer and Max Weiss about their work in translating non-fiction by women, looking at the specific challenges in translating these works.

This event is part of the TA @ Home, a week-long celebration of translation organised by the SoA’s Translators Association (TA). It will take place online via Zoom Webinar. The link will be sent to registered attendees.


  • Welcome by Catherine Fuller, Translators Association Coordinator
  • Introduction by Christina MacSweeney
  • Panel discussion with Barbara Ofosu-Somuah, Bela Shayevich, Natasha Lehrer and Max Weiss
  • Q&A from the audience
  • Summary and closing comments

Send your questions in advance

If you would like to send questions in advance, email cfuller@societyofauthors.org  with ‘TA Women’s Non-Fiction’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and try to answer as many as we can on the day.

TA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our Blackwell’s virtual store featuring books by writers and translators taking part in the TA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate link a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.

The line-up

Christina MacSweeney (Chair) – Translator, writer

Christina MacSweeney is an award-winning translator, working with such authors as Valeria Luiselli, Daniel Saldaña París, Elvira Navarro, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Julián Herbert, Jazmina Barrera and Karla Suárez. She has also contributed to many anthologies of Latin American literature and has published shorter translations, articles and interviews on a wide variety of platforms.

Barbara Ofosu-Somuah – Translator, writer

Barbara Ofosu-Somuah is a writer and Italian-to-English translator. Her translations bring the works of contemporary Afro-Italian writers to English-speaking audiences. She is co-translating Future. Il domani narrato dalle voci di oggi (Futures. Tomorrow Narrated by the Voices of Today), the first anthology by Black Italian women, edited by Igiaba Scego.   

Bela Shayevich – Visual artist, translator, writer

Bela Shayevich is a visual artist, writer, and translator best known for Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand Time. She ardently recommends Soviet underground poet Vsevolod Nekrasov’s I Live I See, co-translated with Ainsley Morse, published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and Victoria Lomasko’s Other Russias (trans. Thomas Campbell)which she edited. 

Natasha Lehrer – Translator, writer

Natasha Lehrer’s criticism and essays have appeared in the Guardian, The Observer, Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, Haaretz, and Fantastic Man, among others. She translates fiction and non-fiction from French to English. Her translations include Suite for Barbara Loden, by Nathalie Léger (winner of the 2017 Scott Moncrieff translation prize), Memories of Low Tide, by Chantal Thomas (shortlisted for the 2020 Scott Moncrieff prize), The Last Days of Ellis Island (shortlisted for the 2021 French-American translation prize), and Consent, by Vanessa Springora.
Twitter: @NatashaLehrer

Max Weiss – Translator

Max Weiss is Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and a literary translator from the Arabic. He has translated numerous works of Arabic fiction and non-fiction, including books by Nihad Sirees, Dunya Mikhail, Mamdouh Azzam, Faysal Khartash, and Alawiya Sobh, among others.

About the Translators Association

The Translators Association (TA) provides a source of expert advice for individual literary translators and is also a collective voice representing the profession as a whole. Find out more


Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA TA @ Home Industry Insider online events are free to everyone but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE

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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.



25 June
15:00 - 16:00 BST
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Sophia A Jackson