The Whole Story: Lessons for “Translating” Reality into Journalism

Reporters and journalists need to tell stories that are happening in other countries and other languages to their own countries, in their own languages. But what are the challenges of telling someone else’s story when you don’t speak the same language? Does the language we choose to tell a story in affect the story itself? How do reporters and journalists frame their story and choose their focus? Journalistic illustration will also be discussed and whether this form of journalism can transcend language.

Free Word Centre’s audience will be joined by one of the most acclaimed representatives of the Polish school of reportage, Witold Szabłowski, and the Guardian‘s favourite reportage illustrator, George Butler. They will share the lessons they’ve learned about how to tell stories that hold onto the truth of another’s experience. There will be an opportunity to ask questions of both journalists about their experiences. This event will be chaired by Jo Glanville,  Director of English PEN.

The Free Word Bar will also be open before and after the event for you to continue the conversation.

If you’re interested in what it means to translate, report and to tell a story truthfully, come and hear from two experienced journalists about the art of telling world stories.

Free Word’s Translator in Residence programme 2015-16 is supported by the Jan Michalski Foundation.

George Butler is an artist and illustrator specialising in travel and current affairs. In August 2012 George walked from Turkey into Syria and drew the war-damaged town of Azaz. He returned in February 2013 to record the refugees’ stories. In March 2014, George was commissioned by Doctors of the World to record the lives of the Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. He has exhibited widely and won the Editorial and Overall award for illustration at the V&A Illustration Awards and an International Media Award in May 2013.
Jo Glanville (chair) has been the Director of English PEN since 2012, having come from Index on Censorship where she worked as an award-winning editor since 2006. She was a BBC current affairs producer for eight years and appears regularly in the media as a commentator on culture and freedom of expression, including in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the London Review of Books.

Witold Szabłowski is an acclaimed Polish journalist and author. His books include The Assassin from Apricot City (published in English by Stork Press), a collection of reports from Turkey; Our Little Polish People’s Republic, on recreating everyday life under communism, co-written with his wife, Izabela Meyza; and Dancing Bears, on the difficulties of adapting to freedom as experienced by bears rescued from Bulgarian gypsies, and also by humans from seven ex-communist countries. This and his next book, about the chefs who cooked for six infamous dictators, are being published in English by Penguin US. Witold has received the European Parliament Journalism Prize and the Ryszard Kapuściński Award for literary reportage.


Thursday, 6 October 2016, 6:45pm – 9:00pm, Free Word Centre

More info and tickets here.

Illustration: George Butler

Category: News and EventsEvents


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