Literature Ireland

SEODA, Five Jewels of Literature in Translation

Literature Ireland publishes five jewels of Irish literature to travel through translation to UNESCO Cities of Literature in Korea, Portugal, Canada and Iceland.

Writer Mary Costello, left, holds copies of Seoda; Minister Catherine Martin, TD, is on the right.

Minister Catherine Martin TD, right, with author Mary Costello at the launch of Seoda, five short stories in translation. Photograph: Arthur Carron


Minister Catherine Martin, TD, today visited the offices of Literature Ireland, the organisation which promotes Irish literature abroad, to launch five short stories in translation. SEODA, a translation project, is an international initiative which sees the publication of stories by Claire Keegan, Danielle McLaughlin, Mary Costello, Kevin Barry, and Wendy Erskine in Korean, Portuguese, French and Icelandic.

Literature Ireland has joined forces with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature for a very special collaboration, involving five UNESCO Cities of literature, Bucheon, Wonju, Óbidos, Québec and Reykjavik. Five contemporary Irish short stories have been translated into Korean, Portuguese, French and Icelandic by translators Jiyang Noh, Jeehyun Shin, Vasco Gato, Pascal Raud and Ingunn Snæfal. The collaboration is named Seoda, after the word for ‘jewels’ in Irish, and is supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Ireland.

Minister Martin said: “The success of contemporary Irish writing is a source of great national pride. I’ve no doubt that these new translations supported by Literature Ireland will continue to expand the global readership for our authors, particularly in the short story form. I’m also delighted that these editions will be publicly available through the library system, making these gems widely accessible to all readers.”

Speaking about the project, the Director of Literature Ireland, Sinéad Mac Aodha said, “These stories represent some of the finest short story writing in Ireland today. The enthusiastic responses to the stories by the literary translators are testimony to the strength of Irish writing. This is the first time some of these writers’ work will be read and enjoyed in languages as diverse as Icelandic and Korean, in what we hope will become a regular series.

We are grateful to Dublin UNESCO City of Literature for helping us connect with these cities, and for supporting the translation and promotional work that we do on behalf of Irish literature across the world.”

The SEODA stories will be available to read online, both in English and in translation, on Literature Ireland’s website, In addition to the public library system, copies will also be available to consult at the National Library of Ireland.

Anne-Marie Kelly, Director of Dublin UNESCO City of Literature said, “The Dublin UNESCO City of Literature designation acknowledges Dublin’s rich literary heritage. Our collaboration with Literature Ireland is a tangible example of the vibrant contemporary literary scene here, and helps strengthen our relationship with these UNESCO sister cities. The SEODA stories will be available to read in the Dublin city library branches and throughout the wider public library system in the coming days.”

The stories, selected by Sinéad Mac Aodha of Literature Ireland, include Cell by Wendy Erskine (Dance Move, Stinging Fly Press, 2022) translated into Icelandic, and Sisters by Claire Keegan, first published in her collection Antarctica, is translated into Korean with the city of Bucheon. Kevin Barry’s powerful The Coast of Leitrim is translated into French with the city of Québec.  Mary Costello’s intriguing Sleeping with a Stranger is available to read in Portuguese with Óbidos. The quintet of translations is book-ended by another translation into Korean, Daniele McLaughlin’s award-wining story, Dinosaurs on Other Planets.

SEODA is just one aspect of the work of Literature Ireland. Literature Ireland attends the major world book fairs, supports the publication of over 100 translations of Irish books a year, hosts literary translators in Ireland, and coordinates the representation of Irish literature at many events and festivals around the world. To date, the organisation has connected Irish writers with international readers in 58 languages.

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature is the fourth UNESCO City of Literature, one of 42 UNESCO Cities of Literature worldwide.

Click here to read the stories in bilingual publication

Posted to on 14 Jun 2023.