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26 February 2024

Wasafiri x English PEN, London Book Fair Event: The State of the Industry

Featuring three contributors from Wasafiri magazine’s ‘The State of the Industry’ spring 2024 issue, the first issue in its 40th anniversary year, and chaired by Wasafiri Editor and Publishing Director Sana Goyal, this panel brings together writers and translators to discuss writing and labour, and to debunk myths. Exploring and exposing pertinent issues within the precarious worlds of academia and the publishing industry, the panellists ask:

  • How are creativity and capitalism tangled?
  • What is expected of marginalised voices in today's literary landscape?
  • And how does the industry ‘read’ writers and translators?

This event is organised by Wasafiri in partnership with English PEN.

Where: English PEN Literary Salon, London Book Fair 2024

About the panellists

Jen Calleja is a translator, co-publisher at Praspar Press and the author of Vehicle and Dust Sucker, a Man Booker International Prize shortlisted literary translator from German, and co-publisher at Praspar Press.

Dr SJ Kim is the author of THIS PART IS SILENT, an essay collection forthcoming from W. W. Norton on April 16th. Praised by Kirkus Reviews as ‘a radically brilliant work’, THIS PART IS SILENT confronts the silences Kim finds in the world. Through letters to the institutions that simultaneously support and fail her, intimate accounts of immigration, and interrogations of rising anti-Black and anti-Asian racism, Kim considers the silences between generations—especially within the Asian diaspora in the West—and finds her way back to her own family during the pandemic lockdown. Born in Korea and raised in the American South, Kim resides in the UK and is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick.

Meena Kandasamy has been described by the Independent as a ‘one-woman, agit-prop literary-political movement’. Meena Kandasamy is a poet, writer, translator, anti-caste activist and academic based in India. Her extensive corpus includes two poetry collections, Touch (2006) and Ms Militancy (2010), as well as three novels, The Gypsy Goddess (2014), When I Hit You (2017) and Exquisite Cadavers (2019). In 2022, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and was also awarded the PEN Hermann Kesten Prize for her writing and work as a ‘fearless fighter for democracy, human rights and the free word.’ Her latest published work is Tomorrow Someone Will Arrest You, a collection of political poetry written over the last decade.

Sana Goyal (Chair) is Wasafiri’s Editor and Publishing Director. Having previously worked as Digital Editor and Deputy Editor at the magazine, Sana was formerly also Publicity Manager at Tilted Axis Press and Marketing and Outreach Officer at Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal. She has a PhD in literary prizes from SOAS, University of London. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Financial Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, TLS, Poetry London, Vogue India, and elsewhere, and she tweets @SansyG.

We start our 40th anniversary year with Wasafiri 117, which has a special focus on ‘The State of the Industry’. Our spring 2024 issue reflects on the contemporary international literary industry through a variety of perspectives, from publishing to academia, via the work of writing, translating, editing, publishing, and teaching.

Featuring an exceptional line-up of interviews, with Alexander Chee and Isabel Waidner, Margo Jefferson, and Elaine Castillo, as well as a lead feature from Jen Calleja, and new poetry from Meena Kandasamy, Andrés N Ordorica, and Yilin Wang, this issue is essential reading for anyone existing within today’s literary spheres. In this issue, you’ll also get a chance to meet the eagerly awaited winners of our 2023 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize and Essay Prize. Wasafiri 117: The State of the Industry is available to preorder now.


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