He is the author of a number of works of non-fiction, including the history book The Tower Menagerie, and one of the editors of The Ultimate Book Guide, a series of reading guides for children and teenagers., the first volume of which won the Blue Peter Book Award. Other titles include Happiness Is a Watermelon on Your Head (a picture-book for children), The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain and Ireland (a reference book), brief biographies of the poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and a new edition of the Oxford Companion to Children's Literature.
His translation of The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007. He is also the translator of Pelé's autobiography; and of work by novelists José Luís Peixoto, Philippe Claudel, María Dueñas, José Saramago, Eduardo Halfon, Gonçalo M. Tavares and others.
A former chair of the Translators Association and national programme director of the British Centre for Literary Translation, he is currently chair of the Society of Authors and on the board of trustees of a number of organisations working with literature, literacy and free expression, including English PEN, Pop Up and Modern Poetry in Translation.
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