Edwin Morgan Translation Fellowships 2022

Thanks to the generous support of Creative Scotland, we were able to welcome Iftach Brill and Aysegul Demir, two talented translators, to our Scottish Literature course this summer. As in previous years, a key component of the Fellowship is for our translators to deliver presentations on their practice as part of our Translation Showcase event. This year the event took place at the University of Edinburgh, and we’re very pleased to be able to share Iftach’s and Aysegul’s presentations here for those that missed the event. We hope you find their presentations as illuminating and entertaining as we at SUISS did, with our thanks again to Iftach and Aysegul for sharing their enthusiasm and passion for Scottish ballads.

Iftach says:

I took part in the Scottish literature course, in this year’s summer school in Edinburgh, thanks to an Edwin Morgan Translation Fellowship granted to me by Creative Scotland. As a translator from Tel Aviv who had had for many years both a professional and a personal interest in Scotland, it was an opportunity to deepen my acquaintance with Scottish culture and to gain a much more nuanced understanding of its complexities. The lectures and classes, the extensive prior reading of novels and plays which began months before the course, the city of Edinburgh itself at its liveliest time, and above all the people I met at SUISS – everything interrelated to create an intensive learning experience and to provoke thought.

More importantly, maybe, the warm welcome at SUISS made me feel less of an outsider to the culture, and more like a collaborator. During my time in Edinburgh I was able to do some research in the National Library for a future project I’d been planning (a Hebrew translation of a work by James Boswell); but the greater contribution of the course in this respect was in giving me encouragement and strengthening my commitment to pursue this task, as way to become a participant of sorts in this culture.

As a recipient of the fellowship, I needed to present a talk related to translation in the context of Scottish literature. Since the other recipient, Aysegul, was working on a Turkish translation of Scottish ballads, I chose to speak of a classic Hebrew translation of the same texts, done more than 70 years ago, and the influence it had on original Israeli poetry. Not being used to lecturing in English abroad, the task was a bit daunting at first, but everybody was very supportive and the challenge proved fruitful. I made real progress during my stay in Edinburgh, and I think I managed to present some genuine insights that were new to me.



Aysegul says:

My name is Aysegul Demir. I’m an academic in the department of English Literature at Munzur University in Turkey. I did my PhD on Scottish Makar Kathleen Jamie in Turkey (in 2017), the first study of its kind. I am currently a postdoctoral research visitor at the University of Edinburgh (since October 2021), translating Scottish ballads into Turkish. Next semester, I’ll be teaching a Scottish literature course at Munzur University, one of the few courses given in Turkey. All of my studies in the field of Scottish literature have given me the impression that I am a pioneer of Scottish literature and culture in Turkey. You might be wondering how someone from Turkey developed such a passion for Scottish literature and culture. Everything starts with SUISS. In 2018, I found a chance to advance in Scottish literature and to experience the Scottish culture that I first discovered with contemporary Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie through the Scottish Literature Module at Scottish Universities International Summer School (SUISS).

It was hardly a surprise to return here for the second time after opening this magical door once. Then, I decided to convey to Turkey the most significant oral literary tradition of Scotland that has not yet been translated into Turkish, the ballads, and started postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh. Even after ten months in Scotland and at the University of Edinburgh, I couldn’t replicate what I experienced at SUISS. As a result, I decided to be a part of it once more, and the Edwin Morgan Translation Fellowship made it possible.

In short, this scholarship allowed me to broaden my knowledge of Scottish manners and culture, as well as Scottish literature, to make friends from various universities and countries, and to expand my academic network. Meeting Kathleen Jamie during the SUISS author’s night, visiting the Parliament building and meeting Parliament Member Angus Robertson; and seeing Prudencia Hart, one of the performances I most want to see, are among the SUISS experiences that have left the most traces on me.



Iftach Brill is a translator and journalist from Tel Aviv. Born in a Kibbutz in the south of Israel, he worked in a printing house, studied PPE at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. He translated about ten books from English to Hebrew, mainly in philosophy, history and literary theory, among which David Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature. He worked as editor in financial newsrooms and was editor of the fact checking column of a daily Israeli newspaper.


Ayşegül Demir is a Turkish academic in the department of English Literature at Munzur University in Turkey. She did her PhD on Scottish Makar Kathleen Jamie and is currently studying to translate Scottish ballads into Turkish at the University of Edinburgh as a postdoctoral research visitor. She is the recipient of the 2018 Saltire Scholarship and the 2022 Edwin Morgan Translation Fellowship for the Scottish Literature Module at Scottish Universities International Summar School (SUISS). Her research interest focuses on Contemporary Scottish Literature, Scottish Poetry, and Turkish–Scottish Oral Literature.





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