Across Language: Translation & Opportunity

Belfast Book Festival Vahni Capildeo, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Maria Stadnicka, Brian Holton & Paddy Bushe 

Across Language: Translation & Opportunity

Date: Saturday 11 June 2022

Time: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Price: Pay What You Want – recommended price £7

Age Range: 16+ years

Venue: The Crescent

Is writing in another language an opportunity for creative freedom?

How is poetry affected by poets working across more than one language?

Join us for an afternoon of discussion and readings that will explore not only acts of literary translation but also the many modes of translation available across disciplines.  

Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo FRSL is a Trinidadian Scottish writer of poetry and non-fiction. Capildeo’s eight books and eight pamphlets include Like a TreeWalking (Carcanet, November 2021) and The Dusty Angel (Oystercatcher, 2021). Their interests include plurilingualism, traditional masquerade, and multidisciplinary collaboration. They are Writer in Residence and Professor at the University of York, a Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and an Honorary Student of Christ Church, Oxford.

Maria Stadnicka is a writer, editor and freelance journalist who is currently a PhD researcher and associate lecturer at the University of the West of England. Her writing explores social identity, transgenerational trauma transmission, cultural theory and the ethics of memory. She is the author of five poetry collections and her poetry was highly commended for the Forward Poetry Prize 2021. Her latest collection Buried Gods Metal Prophets (2021) was included among the best poetry books of 2021 by The Telegraph and the collection, Somnia (2020), was named one of the best poetry books to read in 2020. Her latest collection, Uranium Bullets is forthcoming in 2022. She recently performed her work at Edinburgh Festival, StAnza International Poetry Festival and Cheltenham Literature Festival. She is a contributor to International Times (UK) and Dissident Voice (US)

Paddy Bushe is a poet and translator in both Irish and English. He has published thirteen collections of poetry, and has translated the work of Somhairle MacGill-EainCathal Ó SearcaighGabriel RosenstockZhang Ye and Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin. The recipient of the Oireachtas Prize for Poetry in 2006, he also received the 2006 Michael Hartnett Poetry Award and the 2017 Irish Times Poetry Now Award. His most recent books are Peripheral Vision, a collection in English, and Second Sight, a selection of his poems in Irish with his own translations into English, both from Dedalus Press in 2020. 

Born in Cork, Irish poet, translator, and editor Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is the author of numerous poetry collections, including The Mother House (2020), The Boys of Bluehill (2015), which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and The Sun-fish (2010), which won the International Griffin Poetry Prize. She has translated numerous books including The Legend of the Walled-Up Wife (2012) by the Romanian poet Ileana Malancioiu and co-translated Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s The Water Horse (2001) with Medbh McGuckian. 

Brian Holton is a translator of modern and classical Chinese poetry and fiction, into both English and Scots. He has been a university teacher and broadcaster. Brian is also a poet, singer, and songwriter, and regularly performs on stage and has appeared at literary festivals in many countries, giving talks or readings in the USA, Canada, Europe, the Far East, and New Zealand.

Mslexia reviews ‘Buried Gods Metal Prophets’

‘Stadnicka’s fourth collection is inspired by the experiences of her siblings who lived in a Romanian children’s home during the time (1967-1989) when the Communist Party banned contraception and abortion. Around 12 million illegal abortions took place and over 250,000 children were placed in care homes and orphanages. The collection also draws on Stadnicka’s experiences as a teacher with HIV-positive children at a Romanian orphanage, and on interviews with women who performed illegal abortions. The book explores the effects of trauma and state oppression, as well as the realities of social, political and historical crises.

Stadnicka’s writing has a disquieting quality, which may be due in part to its difficult subject matter as well as the author’s own lived experience. The language is precise and austere, often relating shocking detail in a deadpan tone. ‘Radioactive milk’ relates how ‘One night / the curse shoots out of her womb / and starts walking. / For some reason / the newly born survives’. The book explores the tragic voices of both staff and abandoned children at the orphanages. One poem, written from the perspective of a child with AIDS, ends heartbreakingly, ‘I feel rather proud. / Someone has given me a name other than dog’. Forms include historical documents, short lyric poems, diary entries and textual experimentation. Keenly observed details add touches of surrealism: ‘The moon falls asleep / above your head’; an angel who ‘stops to light a cigarette’.

Maria Stadnicka is a Romano-British writer, editor and journalist based in Gloucestershire. Previous collections include Somnia and The Geometric Kingdom. Stadnicka is a PhD researcher at the University of the West of England, researching trauma and migration. Recognition for her Romanian work includes the Porni Luceafarul, Convorbiri Literare and T Arghezi awards.

A compelling collection from an independent press. Thee book is beautifully made and designed with haunting illustrations by Antonia Glückman, which enhance its atmosphere of darkness and tragedy.’

© Jennifer Lee Tsai, Mslexia Issue 89, March – May 2021.


Buried Gods Metal Prophets is available here.

Lost in Books in Lostwithiel


Come to ‘Lost in Books’ for the launch of A Confusion of Marys (Shearsman Books) w/ Sarah Cave & Rupert Loydell & featuring Special Guest Poet, Maria Stadnicka. Doors open at 6.30pm.

RUPERT LOYDELL is Senior Lecturer in the School of Writing and Journalism at Falmouth University, a writer, editor and abstract artist. He has many books of poetry in print, including Dear Mary, The Return of the Man Who Has Everything, Wildlife and Ballads of the Alone, all published by Shearsman, and Talking Shadows from Red Ceilings. Shearsman also published Encouraging Signs, a book of essays, articles and interviews. He has also authored many collaborative works, several with Daniel Y. Harris; and edited Smartarse and co-edited Yesterday’s Music Today for Knives Forks & Spoons Press, From Hepworth’s Garden Out: poems about painters and St. Ives for Shearsman, and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos for Salt.

SARAH CAVE is a writer and academic living in Cornwall. She is currently working on a practice-based PhD in Poetry at Royal Holloway. Sarah has published two pamphlets and an illustrated chapbook, like fragile clay, published by Guillemot Press. She has published two collections of poetry, An Arbitrary Line (Broken Sleep Books) and Perseverance Valley (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press). Sarah’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Oxford Poetry, Tears in the Fence, Shearsman and Eborakon.

Lost in Books is an independent bookshop in Cornwall, United Kingdom. You can find further information about it, here. The address is Lost in Books, Quay Street, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0BS, UK.

© Lost in Books


© Maria Stadnicka 2020