Worlds Participants 2013

Eric Abrahamsen is a Chinese-English literary translator and publishing consultant who has lived in Beijing since 2001. He is the manager of Paper Republic, which promotes Chinese literature abroad, and an editor of Pathlight magazine, featuring Chinese short stories and poetry in English translation. He is the recipient of NEA and PEN translation grants, and his translation of Wang Xiaofang's The Civil Servant’s Notebook was published in 2012 by Penguin.


Tash Aw is the author of three novels which have been translated into 23 languages, won the Whitbread and Commonwealth prizes for Best First Novel and been longlisted for the MAN Booker Prize. He was born in Taipei, brought up in Malaysia and is now based in London.



Sigrid Bousset is the managing director of the international house of literature Passa Porta, a Brussels based organisation founded in 1998. Passa Porta organizes literary evenings, public debates, a residence-programme for international writers, special creative projects on contemporary literature, and the renowned bi-annual international Passa Porta Festival of Literature. Sigrid Bousset is board member of HALMA, the European network of literary centres.


Antonia Byatt is Director, Literature at Arts Council England and from June 2013 she will also be a Director in the South East Area, based in Cambridge. Before joining Arts Council England, Antonia was Director of the Women’s Library at London Metropolitan University, an academic research library and cultural centre containing the largest collection of women’s history in the UK. Prior to joining the library, Antonia was head of literature at Southbank Centre, which involved overseeing the literature programme of around 130 events a year and overall management of the poetry library. She is a governor of the Bishopsgate Institute and since 2008 has been governor of New Buckinghamshire University.

  Chandrahas Choudhury is a novelist based in New Delhi. He is the author of the novel Arzee the Dwarf (2009), which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth First Book Award and selected by World Literature Today as one of 60 essential works of Indian literature in English since 1947. The book was translated into German and Spanish and appears this year in America (NYRBLit). Choudhury also reviews books for the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is the Fiction & Poetry editor of the Indian monthly The Caravan, and writes a weekly column on Indian affairs for Bloomberg World View.

Professor Catherine Cole is Professor of Creative Writing and Deputy Dean, Faculty of Creative Arts, Wollongong University, NSW, Australia. As well as her academic writing, she has published novels, short stories, poetry and memoir. She previously worked at RMIT University in Melbourne, University of Technology, Sydney and the University of UNSW. She is a former member of the Australian Research Council's Excellence in Research Australia trial committee in Humanities and the Creative Arts and has provided expert advice to a range of universities on their research and creative practice activities. She is a regular book reviewer, participant in Australian and international writers' festivals and a judge of major national book awards.

Jon Cook is Professor of Literature at the University of East Anglia and Chair of the Arts Council in the East of England. The focus of his teaching and research has been on romantic and modern literature. He has supervised a large number of PhD students on subjects in modern literature, literature and philosophy, and creative and critical writing and he was convenor of the MA in creative writing at UEA from 1986–96. He has taught at universities in the US, Europe and India, most recently as a Hurst Visiting Professor at the University of Washington. He is a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College. His recent publications include Poetry in Theory (2004) and a biographical study, Hazlitt in Love (2007). He played an active role in establishing Writers’ Centre Norwich and its New Writing Worlds programme, and has hosted and chaired the Salon of international writers since its inception in 2005.

Ed Cottrell works as a Literature Assistant at the British Council, focusing on the Cultural Programme at the London Book Fair. Prior to this he worked as Digital Media Officer at Writers’ Centre Norwich and as a Webmaster at HowTheLightGetsIn. He lives in London and collects words, music, pictures and videos at



Andrew Cowan is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at UEA, where he was taught by Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.  His first novel, Pig (1994), won a Betty Trask Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, The Authors' Club First Novel Award, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Award, and was shortlisted for five other literary awards.  Common Ground (1996) and Crustaceans (2000) both received Arts Council bursaries. What I Know was the recipient of an Arts Council Writers' Award and was published in 2005.  His creative writing guidebook, The Art of Writing Fiction, was published in 2011.  His fifth novel, Worthless Men, was published in 2013.  He is the Director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA.

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Australia when she was 14. She was educated in Melbourne and Paris, and published her first novel, The Rose Grower, in 1999. Her second novel, The Hamilton Case (2003), was winner of the Tasmania Pacific Prize, the Encore Award (UK) and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Southeast Asia and Pacific). The Lost Dog was published in 2007 and was one of 13 books on the long list for the 2008 MAN Booker Prize for Fiction. From 1989 to 1992 she was a founding editor of the Australian Women's Book Review. Her most recent novel is Questions of Travel, which has been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin prize.

Geoff Dyer’s books have been translated into more than twenty languages.   His awards include a Somerset Maugham Prize,  the EM Forster Award, and  a 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for the essay collection Otherwise Known as the Human Condition.  His latest book is Zona, about Tarkovsky’s film Stalker. His website is

Michael Emmerich is assistant professor of Japanese literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has translated a dozen or so books from Japanese into English, including novels and short story collections by authors ranging from the Nobel Prize recipient Yasunari Kawabata to the bestseller Banana Yoshimoto. His translation of Hiromi Kawakami’s Manazuru was awarded the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature in 2010. He is the editor of Read Real Japanese Fiction (Kodansha) and New Penguin Parallel Texts: Short Stories in Japanese (Penguin) and the author of The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature (Columbia University Press, forthcoming in August, 2013).

Esther Freud trained as an actress before writing her first novel Hideous Kinky, published in 1991. Hideous Kinky was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was made into a film starring Kate Winslet.  She has since written six other  novels, including The Sea House and Love Falls.  She also writes stories, articles and travel pieces for newspapers and magazines, and teaches creative writing, in her own local group and at the Faber Academy. Her most recent  book, Lucky Break, was published in April 2011.  She lives in London with her husband and three children. 


Kate Griffin is an international literature consultant who has developed projects in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. She is currently International Programme Director at the British Centre for Literary Translation, and also works with Writers’ Centre Norwich and the London Review of Books. She has worked for Arts Council England, the British Council, the Arvon Foundation, and PEN International. From 2005–2010 she was a judge for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. She spent most of the 1990s working overseas in Belgium and Russia.

Alice Guthrie is a freelance literary and media translator, writer, editor and researcher, and is also Project Manager-Researcher for Arab World and Euro-Mediterranean Projects at Literature Across Frontiers (LAF). As part of her BA in Arabic with Translation from the University of Exeter, UK, she spent two years studying at IFEAD (now IFPO) in Damascus. She has since translated literary work by various Palestinian, Egyptian, Sudanese, Syrian and Saudi Arabian authors into English, with work published by Saqi, Comma Press, World Literature Today and others.

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator, of work for adults and children, with thirty-something books to his name. His translations from Portuguese, Spanish and French include fiction from Africa, Europe and the Americas, and non-fiction by writers ranging from Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago to Brazilian footballer Pelé. He has written works of non-fiction for adults and a picture-book for children; and edited a number of reference books, including the award-winning series of reading guides for children and teenagers, The Ultimate Book Guides. He has judged several book prizes; and his own books have won him the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. He is on the board of a number of organisations that promote reading, writing and free expression; a former chair of the Translators’ Association, he is now national programme director of the British Centre for Literary Translation. He is currently translating a Brazilian novel and compiling the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature.

Rozalie Hirs has written five poetry books: Locus (1998), Logos (2002), Speling (2005), Geluksbrenger (2008), and Gestamelde werken (2012), published by Querido, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Hirs studied composition with Louis Andriessen and Tristan Murail at the Royal Conservatoire, The Netherlands, and Columbia University, New York. Recent musical works have been performed by Asko|Schönberg, Percussion The Hague, Bozzini Quartet, and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Her CDs Platonic ID (2007), featuring instrumental works written for Asko|Schönberg, and Pulsars (2010), featuring electroacoustic compositions with text, appeared with Attacca records, Amsterdam. Hirs performs her own electroacoustic works with text in the international poetry scene.

Visit Rozalie's website.

Ted Hodgkinson
is online editor at Granta. He was a judge for the 2012 Costa Book Awards’ poetry prize, announced earlier this year. He managed the Santa Maddalena Foundation in Tuscany, the affiliated Gregor Von Rezzori Literary Prize and still serves as an advisor. His stories have appeared in Notes from the Underground and The Mays and his criticism in the Times Literary Supplement. He has an MA in English from Oxford and an MFA from Columbia.

David Karashima
is responsible for The Nippon Foundation’s “Read Japan” programme and founded the first Tokyo International Literature Festival in March 2013. His translations have been published by Penguin, Random House, and Faber & Faber, and his novel The Making of the Next Kamimura was published by Kodansha in 2010.

Rachida Lamrabet is a Moroccan- Belgian writer who writes in Dutch. She received the Debuutprijs (Debut Prize) for her 2007 novel Woman Country [Vrouwland]. Her second book, A Child of God [Een kind van God, 2008], resulted in the BNG Nieuwe Literatuurprijs (BNG New Literature Prize, Amsterdam).  Both books are translated in German by Luchterland Verlag. Her latest novel is The Man Who Didn’t Want to be Buried.


Rachel Lichtenstein’s first book, Rodinsky's Room (1999, co-written with Iain Sinclair), began as a personal quest and evolved into a compelling psycho-geographical adventure. Now considered a classic of its genre, it has been translated into five languages. Her most recent book, Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden, was published to much critical acclaim in 2012. Diamond Street is the second in a trilogy of nonfiction works for publishers Hamish Hamilton, exploring different London streets. The first in the series, On Brick Lane (2007), was shortlisted for the Ondaatje prize. A volume on Portobello Road will follow. She is also the author of A Little Dust Whispered, Keeping Pace: Older Women of the East End and Rodinsky’s Whitechapel. Current projects include a multimedia, GPS activated, location-based digital app drawing on content from her book Diamond Street.

Lichtenstein trained as a sculptor and her artwork has been widely exhibited both in the UK and internationally. She also curates and hosts multi-media exhibitions, literary salons and literary festivals. In 2011, she co-curated Shorelines: The World’s First Literary Festival of the Sea for arts organisation Metal, alongside poet Lemn Sissay. She is currently working on Shorelines 2013.

Melissa Lucashenko is an award-winning novelist who lives between Brisbane and the Bundjalung nation. Her writing explores the stories and passions of ordinary Australians with particular reference to Aboriginal people and others living around the margins of the First World. Melissa’s most recent book is Mullumbimby, a contemporary novel of romantic love and cultural warfare set in a remote NSW valley. Melissa is a founding member of Sisters Inside, a groundbreaking organization which supports criminalized women in Queensland. She is a member of the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, and is currently working on a novel of historical Queensland, as well as several screenplays. Her website is at

Elmer Luke is a writer and editor who has worked in publishing houses in New York and Tokyo, with a range of authors including Jake Adelstein, Colleen McCullough, Haruki Murakami, Tom Wicker, and Robert Whiting. He has consulted for foundations and cultural agencies on both sides of the Pacific. He is co-author of Zen for Cats and co-editor of the anthology March Was Made of Yarn: Reflections on the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Meltdown, which was published simultaneously in the US, UK, and Japan in March 2012. After fifteen years of commuting between Tokyo and New York City, he now lives in upstate New York.

Peng Lun was born in 1976. He studied journalism in Shanghai International Studies University and worked as a journalist with a weekly newspaper on books and publishing. In 2004 he joined Shanghai 99 Readers’ Culture, a young private publisher with a book club and an online bookstore. He is editor of foreign fiction, mostly literary novels and short stories.  His authors include JD Salinger, Philip Roth, EL Doctorow, William Trevor, Patrick Modiano, Irène Némirovsky, Michael Ondaatje, Colm Tóibín, Paul Auster, Colum McCann, Javier Marias, Enrique Vila-Matas, etc. He is editor of the Chinese edition of Granta magazine, which launched in March 2013. He also translated some books from English to Chinese such as The Patrimony and Everyman by Philip Roth, At Random: The Reminiscences of Bennett Cerf and Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A Scott Berg. In 2011 he helped initiate Shanghai International Literature Week, a literary festival at Shanghai Book Fair.

Masashi Matsuie is an author, editor, and visiting professor at Keio University. He worked for the publisher Shinchosha for 28 years, during which time he founded Shincho Crest Books, a series of contemporary literature in translation, and the quarterly magazine The Thinker. His first novel At the Foot of the Volcano published in 2012 was awarded the Yomiuri Literary Prize.



Bejan Matur was born of an Alevi Kurdish family in Turkey. In her university years, she was published in several literary periodicals. Reviewers found her poetry “dark and mystic”. It was shamanist poetry with pagan perceptions, belonging to the past rather than the present, of her birthplace and of the nature and life of her village; it  has been translated into 24 languages. She is a former director of a cultural foundation called DKSV (Diyarbakir Cultural Art Foundation) which is located in Diyarbakir, where she conducted social projects with children and women who had been removed from their villages. She is an expert counsel for the DPI (Democratic Progress Institue) which focuses on conflict resolution. Currently she works as an expert counsel on Kurdish issues. She has a daily Op-Ed column in the newspaper Rudaw which is based in Erbil, Kurdistan, writing about Kurdish politics, history, minority rights, prison literature and women’s issues.

Marcel Möring was born in 1957 in Enschede, near the Dutch-German border. In the late sixties his family moved north, to Assen. He studied Dutch literature for two years, then went from one odd job to another. He wrote several plays in those years, producing and directing two of them, and moved to Rotterdam.

Möring published his first novel, Mendel, in 1990, to unanimous critical acclaim. His second novel, Het Grote Verlangen (The Great Longing, published in more than fifteen countries) won the AKO Prize, the Dutch equivalent of the Booker Prize. Over 150,000 copies of The Great Longing have been sold in the Netherlands alone. Then came a 500 page novel: In Babylon. This book won two Golden Owls, a Flemish award for the best Dutch/Flemish book, in 1998. It was a success in both the Netherlands (over 100.000 copies sold) and Germany and was published in the UK (Flamingo), France (Flammarion), the USA (William Morrow) and a great number of other countries. DIS (In a Dark Wood), was published in 2006 and was awarded the Bordewijk Prize for the best Dutch novel of 2006. Louteringsberg is his latest book.

Neel Mukherjee was born in Calcutta. He has lived in the UK since 1992. His first novel, A Life Apart, won the Vodafone-Crossword Award in India, the Writers’ Guild of UK Award for best novel, and was shortlisted for the inaugural DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. His second novel, The Lives of Others, is out in May 2014.



Ruth Ozeki is a filmmaker, novelist, and Zen Buddhist priest, and the author of three novels, A Tale for the Time Being, My Year of Meats and All Over Creation. Translated and published in more than fourteen countries, her novels have garnered international critical acclaim for their ability to integrate issues of science, technology, environmental politics and global popular culture into unique hybrid narrative forms. Before turning to fiction writing, Ruth worked in commercial television and media production, including low budget horror, for over a decade, and her independent films, including the award-winning documentary Halving the Bones, have shown at Sundance and on American public television. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in a number of anthologies, magazines and newspapers, and she has taught and lectured at universities and colleges around the world. A long-time practitioner of meditation, Ruth was ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest in 2010. She and her husband, environmental artist Oliver Kellhammer, divide their time between New York City and Cortes Island, B.C.. Her website is

John Prebble is Relationship Manager (Literature) at Arts Council England for the South East. He works with a range of organisations and individuals to support their work and to develop literature in various forms across the region. Prior to joining Arts Council, he was Programme Manager at the Canterbury Festival, where he built up literature programming and writer development through the Canterbury Laureate scheme. He has also worked with the Hay-on-Wye Festival, the Folkestone Literary Festival, and the literature stages at the Latitude Festival. He starts his day with Weetabix and a poem, currently from Modern Poetry in Translation.

John Simmons is author of many books, mainly non-fiction, most recently Room 121. He runs "Dark Angels" creative writing courses and is founder director of 26.



Elif Shafak was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1971. She is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. Critics have named her as "one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary Turkish and world literature". Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages and she was awarded the honorary distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Shafak has published twelve books, eight of which are novels and she writes fiction in both Turkish and English. She blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the myriad stories of women, minorities, immigrants, subcultures, youth and global souls. Her work draws on diverse cultures and literary traditions, as well as deep interest in history, philosophy, Sufism, oral culture, and cultural politics.

Shafak's writing breaks down categories, clichés, and cultural ghettoes. She also has a keen eye for black humor. Shafak's first novel, Pinhan (The Mystic) was awarded the "Rumi Prize" in 1998, which is given to the best work in mystical literature in Turkey. Her second novel, Sehrin Aynalari (Mirrors of the City), brings together Jewish and Islamic mysticism against a historical setting in the 17th century Mediterranean. Shafak greatly increased her readership with her novel Mahrem (The Gaze), which earned her the "Best Novel-Turkish Writers' Union Prize" in 2000. Her next novel, Bit Palas (The Flea Palace), has been a bestseller in Turkey and was shortlisted for the Independent Best Fiction Award.

Sara Sheridan: Pint-sized, bestselling historical and crime novelist, swot, twitter evangelist, 26 Board member, Society of Authors Committee member, occasional radio reporter, sometime journalist and Agatha Christie obsessive.




Sjón began his literary career in Iceland at fifteen, publishing his first poetry collection. In the early 1980s he founded the neo-surrealist group Medúsa, and soon acquired a high profile on the Reykjavík culture scene. He has published seven novels and numerous other poetry collections,
and written plays, librettos and picture books for children. His novels include The Whispering Muse, From the Mouth of the Whale, and The Blue Fox (all published in the UK by Telegram); the last was awarded the prestigious Nordic Council Literary Prize and nominated for the 2009 Independent
Foreign Fiction Prize. In 2001, his long-time collaboration with the Icelandic singer Björk led to an Academy Award Best Song co-nomination (for lyrics to I’ve Seen It All), for the Lars von Trier-directed film Dancer in the Dark. In 2007– 08 he held the Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship at the Freie Universität in Berlin, and was a guest of the Berliner Künstlerprogramme in 2010 –11. He resides in Reykjavík with his wife and two children.

Rachel Stevens
joined the British Council in 2003 as an English Literature graduate to work for the cultural relations think tank, Counterpoint. In 2007 she joined the Literature team and is now Deputy Director responsible for global partnerships and developing literature programmes in South Asia and the Americas working across the sector in literary translation, live literature, creative writing, reader development and publishing.



Henry Sutton was the UEA/New Writing Partnership Creative Writing Fellow in 2008. He has been teaching Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia ever since, and is now a faculty member and the convener of the MA Prose Fiction programme. He is the author of nine works of fiction. His new novel, My Criminal World, explores issues of genre, violence and metafiction and was published by Harvill Secker in early 2013. He has judged numerous literary awards, and is a long-standing literary critic. He lives in Norwich with his family.

Rebecca Swift read English at Oxford University and has since worked as an editor and writer. For seven years she worked at Virago Press, where she first conceived of the idea for TLC. For Chatto & Windus she edited a volume of letters between Bernard Shaw and Margaret Wheeler, Letters from Margaret: The Fascinating Story of Two Babies Swapped at Birth (1992) and Imagining Characters: Six Conversations about Women Writers, a book of conversations between writer A.S. Byatt and psychoanalyst Ignes Sodre (1995). Rebecca has also had poetry published in Virago New Poets (1990), Vintage New Writing 6 (1995), Driftwood, US (2005), Staple (2008), InterlitQ (2010) and Talking Poetry (2011). Rebecca is an Emeritus Trustee of Writers’ Centre Norwich and a Trustee of the Maya Centre. In 1999 she completed an M.A. in Psychoanalytic Studies at the Tavistock Centre in London and UEL. Her thesis title was ARE YOU READING ME? An Exploration of the Relationship between people who write and those who read them in publishing and related industries.

David Szalay was born in Canada in 1974. His family moved to the UK the following year and he has lived here more or less ever since. After getting a degree at Oxford University he did a number of different jobs – mostly in sales but also some writing for BBC radio – before publishing his first novel, London and the Southeast, in 2008. It won the Betty Trask Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Since then he has published two more novels, The Innocent and Spring. At the moment, he lives partly in London and partly in Hungary.


George Szirtes was a refugee from the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and came to England as a child together with his parents and younger brother. His first degree was in Fine Art at Leeds and he practised as a painter for some years after. His first book of poetry The Slant Door (1979) was joint winner of the Faber Memorial Prize. In 2004 he won the TS Eliot Prize for his twelfth book of poems, Reel, and was shortlisted for the prize again in 2009 for The Burning of the Books. In between Bloodaxe published his New and Collected Poems (2008). His new book, Bad Machine (2013) is a Poetry Book Society Choice and is again shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize 2013. His books of translation from the Hungarian have won various awards. He has written for children, most recently in In the Land of the Giants (2012) and on visual art. His work has been translated into several languages. He teaches at the University of East Anglia and is married to artist, Clarissa Upchurch. His many translations have won several prizes.

Elise Valmorbida writes books and short stories, teaches creative writing (Arvon and Central Saint Martin’s), leads communications agency word-design, and is on the board of 26.



Evie Wyld runs Review, a small independent bookshop in Peckham, south London. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show’s Best New British Novelists. She was also short listed for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is included in  Granta’s list of Best of Young British Novelists 2013. Her second novel All the Birds Singing comes out in June 2013 from Jonathan Cape and in 2014 from Pantheon in the US.

Sam West is an English actor and director. He is perhaps best known for his role in the film Howards End and his work on stage (including the award-winning play Enron). He  has written essays on Richard II for the Cambridge University Press series Players of Shakespeare, on Hamlet for Michael Dobson's CUP study Performing Shakespeare's Tragedies Today and on Shakespeare and Love for BBC Radio 3. He has published articles on Harold Pinter and on the Shipping Forecast. He also writes frequently and speaks in public about arts funding. West is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts and a member of the council of the British Actors' Union, Equity.

Zhang Yueran
is regarded as one of China's most influential young writers. She has published two short story collections: Sunflower Missing In 1890 (2003) and Ten Tales of Love (2004), and three novels: Distant Cherry (2004), Narcissus (2005) and The Promise Bird (2006), which was named the best saga novel on the 2006 Chinese Novel Ranking List. Each of her books has sold more than 300,000 copies. She has been the chief editor of the prestigious literary magazine Newriting since 2008. She has received many awards, such as the Chinese Press Most Promising New Talent Award (2005), the "MAO-TAI Cup" People's Literature Prize (2008), and the Spring Literature Prize (2006). She is currently studying for her doctoral degree in Ancient Chinese Literature.