Calleja, Jen

Jen Calleja

© Jen Calleja
© Jen Calleja
Jen Calleja is a literary translator of contemporary fiction, non-fiction and YA titles, as well as a writer, editor, literary curator and musician. She studied modern literature and creative writing at Goldsmiths College and gained an MA in German Studies from University College London in 2012, the same year her first book translation was published. She grew up near Brighton, and spent eighteen months living in Munich before beginning her university studies. She has twice been acting editor of New Books in German (2013-2014, 2015-2016), is editor of her own Anglo-German journal Verfreundungseffekt and regularly writes on literary translation and literature in translation for Asymptote, Modern Poetry in Translation and the Times Literary Supplement, and as part of her column for The Quietus. She is the inaugural Translator in Residence at the British Library (2017-2018). She lives in London.

Selection of translated titles:

  • Michelle Steinbeck: My Father was a Man on Land and a Whale in Water (Mein Vater war ein Mann an Land und im Wasser    ein Walfisch). Darf, 2018
  • Wim Wenders: The Nature of Images (Die Pixel des Paul Cezanne). Faber & Faber, 2017
  • Kerstin Hensel: Dance by the Canal (Tanz am Kanal). Peirene Press, 2017
  • Dieter Braun: Wild Animals of the North and Wild Animals of the South (Die Welt der wilden Tiere: Im Norden und Im Süden). Flying Eye Books/Nobrow, 2016
  • Gregor Hens: Nicotine (Nikotin). Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2015
  • Wolfgang Korn: Made on Earth. Bloomsbury, 2012

Three questions to Jen Calleja:

Why did you chose to become a translator? Is it the profession you always wanted to do?

Being a literary translator is a dream come true. As a writer I'm obsessed with telling stories, and now I get to tell other people's as well as my own. I also consider translation a form of socio-political activism whereby translators help others engage with different cultures and ways of viewing the world.

Which German book do you like the best and why?

Bernhard Schlink's The Reader will always have a special place in my heart for being the first book I ever read in German.

Is there a book that you would like to translate?

Joachim Meyerhoff's Wann wird es endlich wieder so, wie es nie war ('When Will it Be Like it Never Was Again'). This book means so much to me and is up to now one of my all-time favourite books.
Related links

British Centre for Literary Translation

BCLT
Britain’s leading centre for the development, promotion and support of literary translation.

Emerging Translators' Network

The Emerging Translators' Network is a forum and support network for early-career literary translators working primarily into English.

German Translators' Workshop

6.30pm, first Thursday of the month, Goethe-Institut, 50 Prince's Gate, London.

Opportunities for Translators

Click here to view a database of programmes, prizes, scholarships and residencies for translators of German.