Bethlehem Attfield

Bethlehem Attfield

Department of Modern Languages
Doctoral researcher Distance Learning

Contact details

PhD title: Indigenous African Literature: Translating Amharic Fiction
Supervisors: Dr Louise Hardwick
PhD Translation Studies Practice-Based


  • BA in English language and literature at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia
  • MSc in Gender, Culture and Society, Birkbeck, University of London


I completed my undergraduate degree in English language and literature at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. In 2000, I got my MSc in Gender, Culture and Society from Birkbeck, University of London. Over the years, I have worked in the humanitarian sector as well as private startup business ventures, with vast experience across emergency relief and rehabilitation project work, gender and human rights advocacy, business management, interpretation, literary translation and creative writing.


  • I provide mentoring and one-to-one literary translation on-line courses.


The research aims to investigate, via analysis of primary data, the translation and critical commentary of Adam Reta’s four short stories from Etemete Lomishita:

  • the significance of hegemonic power in the development of 'African literature’?
  • the significance of literary criticism in contemporary African literature?
  • the possibility of diversifying translation studies to become more inclusive and broadly interdisciplinary

Other activities

  • Presented a research paper at the "Nothing Happened: Translation Studies before James Holmes" conference at UCL on 9-10 November, 2023.
  • Received the Global Africa Translation Fellowship Award 2023, for my current project which aims to build a more inclusive African literary canon, beyond the hierarchies that currently relegate literature in indigenous languages.
  • Shortlisted for TA First Translation Prize by The Society of Authors 2022, for my translation of The Lost Spell, written in Amharic by Yismake Worku, published by Henningham Family Press.



  • Tarik, Memories of Abyssinian Maidens, Short stories, Blurb Books, 15 March, 2016. ISBN Softcover: 9781364242824
  • Requiem for Potatoes: Translated from Amharic by Bethlehem Attfield Kindle Edition, 24 Nov. 2020.
  • The Lost Spell by Yismake Worku, trans. Bethlehem Attfield, Henningham Family Press, Oct. 2021

Journal and blogs

  • African Literature in Translation: Towards Adopting a Minor Translation Theory, Media and Intercultural Communication Journal. doi: 10.22034/MIC.2023.164382
  • Heaven Without Prickley Pears by Mulugeta Alebachew, co-trans. Bethlehem Attfield, Asymptote Journal Summer 2021 ed.
  • Who is the Judge by Tadelech H/Michael, trans Bethlehem Attfield, Asymptote Journal Fall 2021 ed.
  • Identity Politics and Introspection, Medium, 14 June, 2021
  • A Journey to Ethiopia with A Story, YouTube Podcast Presenter, From 5 Feb. 2021 – to date.