A landscape image of Dima Wannous


No frontiers: celebrating writing in translation

Lectures & discussions / 17 Apr 2020

Age: 18+

Event information

17 Apr 2020

This event has been postponed.

Stevenson Lecture Theatre

British Museum, Great Russell Street,

London, WC1B 3DG


  • £12
  • £10 (Members)
  • £10 (Concessions)


Please note this event has been postponed. We'll provide further information as soon as possible.

However, if you'd prefer a refund, please email tickets@britishmuseum.org.


The PEN Charter states that literature knows no frontiers and should remain a common currency between nations in spite of political or international upheavals.

This panel discussion presented in collaboration with English PEN celebrates the role of translation in breaking down barriers. Chaired by Claire Armitstead of the Guardian, guest speakers include Syrian-born writer and translator Dima Wannous and Chinese-born British poet Ma Jian, author of Red Dust; and his interpreter Flora Drew.

Guest speakers

Claire Armitstead is associate editor for culture at the Guardian. She presents the weekly Guardian books podcast and is a regular commentator on the radio, and at live events across the UK and internationally.

Dima Wannous

Dima Wannous is a writer and translator, who wrote the short story collection, Details (2007), and two novels, The Chair (2008) and The Frightened Ones (2017), which was shortlisted for the Arabic International Prize for Literature.

Ma Jian

Ma Jian was born in Qingdao, China, in 1953. He worked as a watch-mender's apprentice, a painter of propaganda boards, and a photojournalist. At the age of thirty, he left his job and travelled for three years across China. Ma Jian left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 as a dissident but continued to travel to China. After the handover of Hong Kong, he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives.