Thursday, April 17, 2014

Translation on Tap in NYC April 26 - May 1, 2014

Josef Winkler
Tuesday, April 29
An Evening with Josef Winkler
The acclaimed Austrian author will present the English translations of his novels Natura Morta and When the Time Comes with his translator Adrian West as part of an evening of music and dance at the Austrian Cultural Forum, 11 E. 52nd St., (between Madison and Fifth), 7:30 p.m.

Jessica Cohen and Evan Fallenberg
Thursday, May 1
The Bridge Series goes Hebrew (הגשר) with translator Jessica Cohen and translator/author Evan Fallenberg reading and discussing their work. Details here. McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince St., 7:00 p.m.

And don't forget the PEN World Voices Festival April 28 - May 4, including various translation events.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Translation Events at 2014 PEN World Voices Festival

The theme of this year's PEN World Voices Festival (April 28 - May 4) is Literature on the Edge, and as usual the Translation Committee has put together a themed panel (Translation on the Edge) to suggest ways of considering the festival's theme with regard to translators and translation. A new edition of the ever-popular Translation Slam will be included in this year's festival as well.

Here's a complete rundown of the translation-related events. Tickets to any of them can be purchased at a 20% discount using the code PEN2014 (for events at the Public Theater) or PEN14 (for all others).

Tuesday, April 29
Master Class: Adonis and Jorie Graham with translator Khaled Mattawa
In a rare visit to the States, once-imprisoned Syrian author Adonis, considered by many to be the most important Arab poet, will speak with celebrated American poet Jorie Graham and award-winning translator and scholar Khaled Mattawa.
Anspacher, The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street
7:00 p.m.

Friday, May 2
Translation Slam
What happens when a poem migrates into another language, not just once but twice? Find out at the Translation Slam, a perennial Festival favorite! The M.C. will be Michael F. Moore, joined by translators Kerri Pierce, Baba Badji, Emmanuelle Ertel and Pejk Malinovski, along with poets Tracy K. Smith, and K.E. Semmel.
Anspacher, The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street
9:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 3
Translating on the Edge
Translation can be dangerous and subversive from a literary perspective. It can also take on a political or ideological dimension. This panel brings together translators who have worked with texts considered blasphemous, obscene, or otherwise dangerous to offer their views on the place where art meets politics.
With Robyn Creswell, Bonnie Huie, and Sara Khalili, moderated by Heather Cleary for the PEN Translation Committee
The Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, The Cooper Union
41 Cooper Square (Third Avenue @ 6th Street)
1:00 p.m.

Visit for more information including a complete schedule, and remember the discount codes PEN2014 (for the Public Theater) and PEN14 (for other venues), which will get you a 20% discount on tickets to any of the ticketed events.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Best Translated Book Award 2014 Shortlists

The long-awaited Best Translated Book Award finalists have just been announced in both the poetry and fiction categories. I am delighted to see a number of excellent smaller presses represented, along with many translators whose work I admire. Special congratulations to New Directions, Archipelago and Zephyr, each of which is doubly represented.

Behold the two shortlists:


Relocations: 3 Contemporary Russian Women Poets by Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova, and Maria Stepanova, translated from the Russian by Catherine Ciepiela, Anna Khasin, and Sibelan Forrester (Russia; Zephyr Press)

A Guest in the Wood by Elsa Biagini, translated from the Italian by Diana Thow, Sarah Stickney, and Eugene Ostashevsky (Italy; Chelsea Editions)

The Unknown University by Roberto Bolaño, translated from the Spanish by Laura Healy (Chile, New Directions)

White Piano by Nicole Brossard, translated from the French by Robert Majzels and Erin Mouré (Canada; Coach House Press)

Murder by Danielle Collobert, translated from the French by Nathanaël (France; Litmus Press)

In the Moremarrow by Oliverio Girondo, translated from the Spanish by Molly Weigel (Argentina; Action Books)

Paul Klee’s Boat by Anzhelina Polonskaya, translated from the Russian by Andrew Wachtel (Russia; Zephyr Press)

Four Elemental Bodies by Claude Royet-Journaud, translated from the French by Keith Waldrop (France; Burning Deck)

The Oasis of Now by Sohrab Sepehri, translated from the Persian by Kazim Ali and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati (Iran; BOA Editions)

His Days Go By the Way Her Years by Ye Mimi, translated from the Chinese by Steve Bradbury (Taiwan; Anomalous Press)


Horses of God by Mahi Binebine, translated from the French by Lulu Norman (Morocco; Tin House)

Blinding by Mircea Cărtărescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Romania; Archipelago Books)

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy; Europa Editions)

Tirza by Arnon Grunberg, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett (Netherlands; Open Letter Books)

My Struggle: Book Two by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Norway; Archipelago Books)

Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet (Hungary; New Directions)

A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters (Japan; Other Press)

The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa, translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Gray (Guatemala; Yale University Press)

Leg Over Leg Vol. 1 by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies (Lebanon; New York University Press)

The Forbidden Kingdom by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent (Netherlands; Pushkin Press)

This year's judges include - for poetry - Stefania Heim, Bill Martin, Rebecca McKay, Daniele Pantano, and Anna Rosenwong; and for fiction, George Carroll, Monica Carter, Scott Esposito, Sarah Gerard, Elizabeth Harris, Daniel Medin, Michael Orthofer, Stephen Sparks and Jenn Witte.

The winners of the Best Translated Book Awards in both categories will be announced on April 28, 2014, so if you're the betting type, time's a-wastin'! Watch this space for the news when it breaks.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Translation on Tap in NYC April 15 - 25, 2014

There'll be a lot happening translation-wise in the greater New York area over the next 10 days. Check it out:

Tuesday, April 15
This one's in (sort of) nearby Princeton, New Jersey: Peter Brooks & Linda Asher discussing Balzac: The Human Comedy - Selected Stories. Asher is one of the translators of the volume, which appeared this year from New York Review Books Classics. Labyrinth Books, 122 Nassau St., Princeton, 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 16:
Rachida Madani, whose Tales of a Severed Head Marilyn Hacker translated for Yale UP, will be reading with Pierre Joris along with a group of Moroccan musicians at the Silvana Club, 300 W. 116th St. (a really nice newish cafe with a dining/performance space downstairs), 6:30 p.m.

Friday, April 25, 2014
Translating the Untranslatable: Contemporary Poetry Translation in the U.S. - a roundtable and reading featuring Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Charles Bernstein, Cole Swensen, Pierre Joris, Tracy Grinnell, and Avital Ronell. NYU French Department, 19 University Place, 6th floor, 2:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Friday April 25, 2014
Contemporary French Poetry in the U.S.: Translating, Publishing, Adapting. With French and American poets Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Charles Bernstein, Cole Swensen, Pierre Joris and Tracy Grinnell, presented by Vincent Broqua. McNally Jackson, 52 Prince Street, 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shortlist Announced

It's been an eventful couple of days at the London Book Fair, it seems. First the LBF awards, and now the shortlist for the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, one of the highest-profile international prizes for a work in translation. The prize-winning book will be announced on May 22.

Here are the finalists:

• The Iraqi Christ, by Hassan Blasim, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Comma Press)

• A Man in Love, by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker)

• A Meal in Winter, by Hubert Mingarelli, translated from the French by Sam Taylor (Portobello Books)

• The Mussel Feast, by Birgit Vanderbeke, translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch (Peirene Press)

• Revenge, by Yōko Ogawa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder (Harvill Secker)

• Strange Weather in Tokyo, by Hiromi Kawakami and translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell (Portobello)

I'm glad to see Jonathan Wright on the shortlist after indignities suffered last year; the universe owed him one.

Here's the official shortlist announcement, and check The Guardian for some useful background information on the authors and books. May the best book and the best translator win!

Best Translated Book Award Wins New London Book Fair Prize

Perhaps you'll recall that I blogged two weeks ago about the new roster of prizes being offered this year by the London Book Fair, including the International Literary Translation Initiative Award. In a potentially quite confusing mise en abyme, one of the top contenders for that prize was itself a prize, the Best Translated Book Award. And now that the LBF has released its list of International Book Industry Excellent Award winners, I am delighted to announce that the prize has indeed gone to the Best Translated Book Award. If you wish to congratulate the prize's founder, Chad Post, hop on over to the Three Percent blog, where celebrations are underway. Probably a good idea to keep an eye on Three Percent anyhow, since it's getting to be BTBA 2014 shortlist time. And for your further entertainment, Biblioasis has put together a list of particularly compelling sentences culled from the 2014 BTBA fiction longlist. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

John Ashbery, Translator

I know you think of him as a poet, and of course that's what he is, and pretty much the best of the best at that. But I've also been reading his translations from the French for years with great pleasure, e.g. to give one of many examples, his translation of the late 17th century fairy tale The White Cat by Madame d'Aulnoy that I sometimes assign to my students. And now that Ashbery's collected translations are forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in two plump volumes (one each for poetry and prose, pub. date for both April 8, 2014), I am astonished to see quite how much he has in fact translated, with prose by over a dozen authors - above all Raymond Roussel and Giorgio de Chirico, along with some Jarry, Michaux, Leiris, Artraud etc. - and poems by some two dozen poets from the 16th century on, including Mallarmé, Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Supervielle, Reverdy, Eluard, René Char, Pierre Martory, Serge Fauchereau and many more. A very impressive compendium, and what a treat to see Ashbery's always sure-footed voice applied to the work of so many different writers. I can't wait to dive in. And if you share that sentiment and would like a sneak preview, you're in luck, because Ashbery will be appearing this week at the 92nd St. Y along with poet Mark Ford (to whom Ashbery's volume of French poems is dedicated), and the forthcoming translations are sure to figure in the program along with Ashbery's new book of poems, Quick Question, and Ford's Selected Poems. With any luck, there'll even be advance copies available for sale. Helen Vendler and Eugene Richie (co-editor of the Ashbery translations along with Rosanne Wasserman) will moderate. Thursday, April 3 at 8:00 p.m., Lexington Ave. at 92nd St.

The 92nd Street Y has a nice big auditorium and doesn't often sell out, but this is one event for which securing a ticket in advance (the cheap seats start at $7.50) isn't the worst idea. Wish I could be there myself, but I'll be off in Boston spending the evening with Jenny Erpenbeck.