Polly Barton is an English author and Japanese literary translator. She has written two non-fiction books, Fifty Sounds (2021) and Porn: An Oral History (2022), along with translating several Japanese titles.
Polly Barton grew up in west London and studied philosophy at the University of Cambridge. She travelled to Japan to teach English as part of the JET Program, a teaching program sponsored by the Japanese government.
Barton won the English PEN Translates Award 2020 for translating There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job. Her translations include So We Look to the Sky by Misumi Kubo, Spring Garden by Tomoka Shibasaki, and Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda, which was shortlisted for the Ray Bradbury Prize.
She won the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize for Fifty Sounds, a memoir and personal dictionary that examines her relationship with Japan and her journey to becoming a literary translator.
The Porn consists of 19 conversations between Barton and acquaintances of varying degrees of familiarity. She applies expert journalistic rigor to a subject she is not technically an expert in, making her perspective both refreshing and accessible.
Polly Barton lives in Bristol.
Photo credit: Garry Loughlin