Event: Bringing Scandinavian Children’s Voices into English

Contemporary Scandinavian children’s and Young Adult literature is full of stories that combine a playful joy of storytelling with important socio-cultural themes. But how does this translate? This three-part event on Monday 26th September 2022 explores the ins and outs of working with Scandinavian children’s and YA literature in translation, bringing authors, publishers, translators and industry insiders together discuss their work, and how they go about bringing these books to an English readership.

PART I: A talk and workshop led by Guy Puzey, delving into the nitty-gritty of translating for children and young adults. How do kids actually speak? How does this transfer across cultures and national borders? What can we as translators do to capture the depth and variety of children’s spoken language?

PART II: A panel of industry insiders will discuss their various roles in bringing Scandinavian children’s literature to the English language: how do these books travel, what are the cultural issues involved, and how can we continue to promote Scandinavian children’s voices abroad? Panelists in Part II include Julia Marshall, Tine Nielsen, and BJ Woodstein. Guy Puzey will chair.

Parts I and II are open to translators – for more information and to register, please visit SELTA’s website: swedishenglish.org/events/2022-kids

Part III: Author Panel – everyone welcome! Join us for this online conversation with three of Scandinavia’s most exciting authors of children’s and young-adult literature.

Kim Fupz Aakeson (Denmark), Aina Basso (Norway) and Kristina Sigunsdotter (Sweden) will discuss their work, from inception to finished book, and the art of capturing children’s voices and imaginations. Translator and DELT Chair, Paul Russell Garrett will moderate. FREE – sign-up is required, please go to bit.ly/scandikids3

This event is being organized jointly by DELT alongside the Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association (SELTA, swedishenglish.org) and the Swedish Book Review (swedishbookreview.org).

A special thank you to the Danish Arts Foundation and the Swedish Arts Council for their generous support, which has made this event possible!

Summer Strategy Session and Sizzling Shindig! August 2022

As DELT looks ahead to marking five years since being formally established, this summer presented the perfect opportunity for a discussion on DELT’s strategy and objectives for the next five.

On 2-3 August, DELT’s management committee met for two days of strategy meetings followed by a members’ meeting and social. Throughout the pandemic, the committee has been meeting monthly online to manage DELT, but because of the ongoing pandemic, this was the first in-person get-together for this committee which formed at the AGM in 2020.

Back row (left-to-right): Misha, Kyle. Front row: Paul, Ellen, Sinéad. Background: piglets.

Committee members Paul Russell Garrett (Chair), Sinéad Quirke Køngerskov (Secretary), Ellen Kythor (Treasurer), Misha Hoekstra and Kyle Semmel all participated in the strategy meetings at a conference hotel just outside Aarhus.

Initial topics covered:

  • Committee and group updates (including event planning and AGM for Autumn 2022)
  • Finalising the members’ rates survey findings (now published for DELT members!)
  • Mentoring (NCW and internal)
  • Funding applications
  • Collaborations with other networks (SELTA, NCW, BCLT)

Then the committee brainstormed individually and collectively what they wanted to achieve from these strategy sessions and their broad ambitions for DELT over the next 5 years. Unsurprisingly, as well as discussing broader strategy for DELT as a whole, the committee were keen to get to know each other better to forge a stronger working relationship after years of online-only meetings. Dinner, drinks and a late-night walkabout in Aarhus helped to get the ball rolling.

The most intense part of the strategy discussion centred around a SWOT analysis, giving the committee an opportunity to take stock of DELT’s role and purpose from different perspectives. This activity would also feed into prioritising DELT’s aspirations and goals.

These Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats formed the basis of discussion when other DELT members joined the committee at a coffee meeting and workshop later on the second day – virtually and in-person! In total, 15 DELT members were able to participate in this summary workshop and informal chat. It was inspiring to hold a truly hybrid meeting with so many attendees contributing in real life and online.

Following feedback from members, two core aspirations and subsequent concrete goals were identified and finalised:



A further, more detailed summary of these aspirations and goals will be circulated to DELT members soon!

The group meeting was also a good chance to introduce a demo of DELT’s new website, which is in the process of being redesigned.

Following the formal part of the strategy meetings at the conference hotel, all attendees were invited to a social at Misha’s picturesque communal homestead nearby. This was a fantastic opportunity for socialising and chats about the translation industry, and featured a tour of the farm (can you spot the piglets?), a walk in the woods, fun on a zipline, communal grilling on the campfire, and general summertime østjysk hygge. Many participants had never met in person before, so it really was something special.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. We are also grateful that our successful funding application to the Danish Arts Foundation (and the rare congruence of the entire committee being in Denmark at the same time!) allowed the committee to meet in the same place at the same time.

AGM 2021 and virtual events

AGM season is upon us, and DELT is ready to celebrate its fourth official year of existence! This year we’ve invited DELT members Tam McTurk, Katrine Øgaard Jensen, Sharon Rhodes and Nielsine Nielsen to take part in a series of supporting events, and they’ll be joined by an exciting group of guest speakers, including Jennifer Croft, Iben Hendel Philipsen, Lawrence Schimel and Malene Monka.

The 2021 AGM & Events are exclusive to members of DELT, so if you’re not already a member, click to read more about how to join!


The AGM itself will take place on 21 NOVEMBER, 19:30 (UTC)

Event: Networking

21 November 16:00 to 17:15 (UTC)

Katrine Øgaard Jensen & Lawrence Schimel (with Nielsine Nielsen)

Why should a literary translator worry about networking — and how can they do it better? Award-winning translators Katrine Øgaard Jensen and Lawrence Schimel will discuss how to network and succeed as a literary translator. In 2018, Katrine received the National Translation Award in poetry for her rendition of Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s poetry collection Third-Millennium Heart. Lawrence is a published author and an established translator working between English and Spanish.

Event: Self-Promotion & Marketing

17:45 to 19:00 (UTC)

Iben Hendel Philipsen, Tam McTurk & Jennifer Croft (with Sharon E. Rhodes)

How can literary translators use social media and create a web presence to promote their work? Jennifer Croft, Tam McTurk, and Iben Hendel Philipsen have all made names for themselves in the world of translation. Iben is not only a bilingual Danish/English translator but is also the founder of IP Words and the activist press, Rebel With a Cause. Tam is both a literary translator and the owner of Citadel Translations, a company that coordinates academic and commercial translations from Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Finally, Jennifer Croft—the translator of Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, winner of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, and an author in her own right — has lit a fire under the debate on acknowledging translators.

Event: Interaktiv Foredrag

Malene Monka

23 November 15:00 (UTC)

Nationalromantikkens indflydelse på hvordan vi taler dansk i dag.

Register now for AGM & Events! (members only)

DELT Event: Singing for Your Supper with Daniel Hahn and Misha Hoekstra – Sunday 13 June 2021

’Tain’t easy to hang out your shingle and earn your bread as a literary translator. That’s true for even some of the most acclaimed practitioners of the trade, as both Daniel Hahn and Misha Hoekstra can attest to.

Join this public DELT event where Danny and Misha will discuss the challenges they’ve faced in making literary translation their calling. They’ll address the difficulties of establishing yourself in the profession, plus strategies to help you achieve some measure of financial and mental stability. They’ll also talk about mistakes they’ve made and doubts they still struggle with – as well as why the whole damn enterprise is worth the trouble. Fellow translator Kyle Semmel will moderate.

Singing for Your Supper: How to Make It as a Translator
(Sunday 13 June, 7pm BST / 8pm CEST / 2pm EDT / 12pm MDT / 6pm UTC!)
The conversation will run 55 minutes, including Q&A. You’re also invited to stick around afterward for informal questions and discussion.

This event is FREE – please register in advance on Eventbrite for the Zoom linkhttps://tinyurl.com/bhtwhf9a

Full speaker bios on the Facebook event page.

A Summer of Virtual Activities

As lockdown and social distancing measures were suddenly put in place all over the world owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, so DELT’s plans for 2020 suddenly shifted. It soon became apparent that keeping in touch virtually would be the year’s key focus. Twice in May, members were invited to a ‘social’ Zoom meet-up in order to test the technology and gauge interest.

Following up on suggestions from those sessions, on 26 June 2020 DELT hosted a virtual sharing session on the topic Submitting to Magazines, Competitions and Grants. Committee member Lin Falk von Rooyen guided a conversation between a trio of award-winning Danish translators: Misha Hoekstra, Kyle Semmel and Katrina Øgaard Jensen. Lin has kindly put together a report on the top tips and links from this session, which members can read in the Members’ Area.

On 20 July 2020, perfectly timed to coincide with the first ever Danish workshop at the BCLT (British Centre for Literary Translation) Summer School, DELT hosted a Zoom session entitled In Conversation with Christina Hesselholdt.

Photo of Christina Hesselholdt by Robin Skjoldborg

On this occasion, Paul Russell Garrett (DELT Chair) took the reins, which started with readings in Danish by the author and in English by the BCLT Summer School participants. The panel was then joined by Christina’s publisher, Jacques Testard, and agent, Laurence Laluyaux, who had a wide-ranging discussion on the various stages of publishing a Danish book in the UK. Attendees had an opportunity to ask questions to the panel directly, moderated by DELT founder, Ellen Kythor. Many questions centred around breaking into the industry as a translator and promoting Danish authors abroad. The session was attended by around 35 invitees.

From 20-25 July 2020, ten Danish translators, including six DELT members, took part in the first ever virtual summer school at BCLT, increasing the possibility for participants from around the world to join. The group consisted of participants from the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Denmark, as well as one early riser dialling in from the east coast of America. Led by DELT Chair Paul Russell Garrett, and with the author Christine Hesselholdt ‘in the room’ to respond to any queries, the ten participants set about translating an article that was commissioned by Information, one of a series of articles focussing on Danish nature. The programme consisted of about thirteen hours of translation sessions, which included translation exercises and professional development advice, as well as talks, socials and plenaries with the entire summer school group. The week culminated in a reading of the translated text, however it seemed the group wasn’t content to end it there, and decided to continue meeting after the summer school to translate a second article by the author. They hope to be able to publish their translations and share some of their experiences from a remarkably social summer school, experienced from the comfort of their own homes.

A few of the BCLT Danish participants hard at work …

DELT In Conversation with Christina Hesselholdt

Photo by Robin Skjoldborg

Founder and editor of Fitzcarraldo Editions, Jacques Testard, literary agent, Laurence Laluyaux, and translator Paul Russell Garrett will join Christina Hesselholdt in discussing the publication of Danish literature in translation. Please contact DELT if you would like to participate in this private event for translators of Danish literature into English.

Training and Mentorship Opportunities

These are strange times we’re living in, but all is not lost! Our new virtual reality means there are opportunities to hone your translation craft wherever you call home!

Danish Arts Foundation funding for the BCLT (British Centre for Literary Translation) Summer School has been pushed back to 2021. Fortunately, BCLT has stepped in to support the Danish programme in 2020, meaning there will be two consecutive summers of Danish translation workshops with BCLT! The deadline for applications is Monday 18 May. Christina Hesselholdt will be joining the workshop sessions, and is hoping to have some new writing for us! More info here.

Foreign Affairs theatre company is now accepting applications for the fourth edition of their Theatre Translator Mentorship programme for translators wanting to translate for the stage. Extended deadline: Thursday 4 June, 17:00. Find all the details here.

And another exciting opportunity for Danish translators will be announced in the coming months, stay tuned for the official news!

Virtual DELT meetings 2020

On 1 May 2020, DELT members successfully had a first go at meeting via video online! While DELT committee meetings between its 5 committee members usually take place on Skype, this members’ meeting used Zoom. Members were invited to BYO wine, beer or hyldeblomst! 9 people participated and the vibe was convivial with the aim of being a pick-me-up for socially isolated translators. To start off, everyone took it in turns with a short ‘show and tell’ on something relating to Danish and/or translation (almost exclusively book-related in the end!), before most participants tried out the picture guessing game skribbl.io (using Danish words, of course).

scribbl screenshot
skribbl game screenshot

Following this first ‘trial run’, we are keen to organise another virtual get-together very soon! We will act on feedback – the next meeting will be publicised more prominently to DELT members via a Facebook event and email.

DELT AGM and event Pitching Danish Literature Abroad

On Thursday 14 November 2019, DELT gathered for its second Annual General Meeting (AGM) and associated mingling at the delightful home of the Dansk Forfatterforening in central Copenhagen.

This year has been relatively quiet for translator-related events for those working from Danish as the Danish Arts Foundation put on hold its summer school and BogForum visitors programme for 2019. The DELT committee therefore resolved that the AGM should offer a focal point for Danish-English translators attending BogForum (Copenhagen Book Fair). By applying for funding for the event from the Danish Arts Foundation, the budget included a small number of bursaries to enable DELT members who had never previously attended the book fair to come to Copenhagen, and we were thrilled to meet new members at the AGM.

The exciting programme was scheduled to begin mid-afternoon with a publisher pitching and networking session. Due to an unfortunate combination of guest speaker illness and other unforeseeable circumstances, this element had to be postponed. Instead, we were pleased that Dr Ian Giles, Chair of SELTA (and member of DELT), was able to step in and give a talk on ‘Selling Scandinavian Literature to British Readers 1917-2017’. Ian focused on how the use of hybridity, genre and setting has long given Scandinavian literature an edge in the English-speaking markets, with a particular focus on Peter Høeg’s Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow. Ian’s presentation was followed by enthusiastic input from the assembled translators about the subject. This was immediately followed by a masterclass and discussion led by Paul Russell Garrett on the day’s theme of translator pitching. There was discussion of an ideal pitching model (as proposed by Ros Schwartz via the UK Translators’ Association) that also drew on input from assembled translators. Attendees were encouraged to work in groups to prepare a pitch for an existing title drawing on the framework as well as the findings provided in the earlier talk about publishing Scandinavian literature in English.

After a convivial chatty coffee break with Sinéad’s delicious homemade lemon tart, the AGM proper was convened. John Mason chaired the meeting. Dr Ellen Kythor (Chair) delivered a report on DELT’s activities since the first AGM in October 2018. Paul Russell Garrett (Treasurer) provided an update on the association’s financial situation and Lin Falk van Rooyen outlined DELT’s standalone event that took place in Edinburgh in June (see report here). A number of other items for discussion were covered including Danish mentorship and summer school opportunities in upcoming years and engaging members in giving feedback on funding for translation. There was considerable interest from attendees in the progress that DELT is making and how it can best serve all members. As per the Constitution of DELT, at this second AGM there was an election for Chair. Ellen announced she was stepping down and Paul was elected as Chair unopposed. The time flew by – the sign of a good meeting! (Minutes of the AGM, ably written up by Secretary Sinéad Quirke Køngerskov, can be read in the Members Area.)

The final activity on the programme was a peer-to-peer session on pitching tips and stories. Led by Ellen, based on interviews undertaken for her PhD research into publishing Danish literature in the translation, several DELT members gave step-by-step accounts of successful pitches of literary translation projects from Denmark to a British or American publisher. For instance, Lin emphasised that she would endeavour to place projects with publishers based on her enthusiasm for working alongside a particular authors she identified. Paul, meanwhile, described a successful pitching project that involved children’s books, commissioned by an anglophone publisher, but he noted that a pitching approach like this had been an exception in his career trajectory. He also discussed the Starling Bureau, a collective of translators from multiple languages who share resources to pitch a list of titles. Barbara Haveland described an example of pitching that kicked off her own career, and a handful of other attendees added their own anecdotes and comments about successful and unsuccessful attempts to persuade publishers to buy titles.

Everyone had worked up an appetite and the fresh vegetarian boxed meals of open sandwiches and salads were served up to a great reception alongside wine. Many translators used the opportunity to mingle, make new friendships, and rekindle old ones. It was gratifying that almost half of DELT’s members were able to attend, even despite the lack of concurrent Danish Arts Foundation BogForum visitors programme for translators this year. 

21 DELT members attended. View our full list of members of the Translators page. Photo credits: Ian Giles and Ellen Kythor.

We are grateful to the Danish Arts Foundation for its support in hosting this event.

Attendee feedback on DELT Workshop in Edinburgh

In June 2019, DELT members, along with keen students and local translators, assembled in Edinburgh to participate in a workshop and panel on the theme of ‘translator as/and editor’. Our full write-up is available online. We requested feedback from attendees via a SurveyMonkey questionnaire – this news post collates a few key titbits!

Most survey respondents described the daytime translation workshop as inspiring, interesting, organised and welcoming. In summary, participants particularly liked the collegiality of the daytime workshop. The icebreaker and designing in a mix of experience into the sub-groups were especially positively received. In future, some respondents suggested a longer workshop with an opportunity to mix groups.

“The workshop GOT ME THINKING – which is exciting, as a lot of our work as translators is rather hum drum.”

Attendees appreciated the “excellent composition” of the expert evening panel, The Symbiotic Relationship between the Editor and the Translator. The panel might have been improved by a more Nordic focus and more time for audience Q&A, but overall respondents enjoyed the flow of conversation and stories from such a broad range of panellists.

“The realization that the work of a translator and that of an editor is SO amazingly entwined. How essential it is for a translator to have good chemistry with the editor.”

“…entertaining but illustrative anecdotes… it was just solid.”

The overall networking elements of the event were appreciated and praised, but we were also given great ideas for future networking options such as including opportunities for translators to promote their books or spend more time with the expert panellists.

[Networking] is invaluable even though it may not seem so at the time. The informal discussions with others, on working conditions, publishers they know etc. were all extremely useful. And it was great to meet some old friends and make new ones!”

Thank you so much for the constructive feedback that has given DELT’s committee some ideas to work with for future plans!

“Really great event and I really enjoyed myself. Let me on a work-high for a few days after.”