Translation Awards (AKA: Love for Translators)

Translators of all nations: CONGRATULATIONS!

The last few weeks have seen a treasure trove of translation grants, prizes, and fellowships announced from PEN and the NEA . . . Where to begin?!

Let’s start with the PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant recipients, which were announced today (and which I read via translator-extraordinaire Susan Bernofsky’s [phenomenal] Translationista blog):

The Translation Fund, now celebrating its eleventh year, is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s competition. From a field of 120 applicants, the Fund’s Advisory Board—Esther Allen, Barbara Epler, Sara Khalili, Michael F. Moore, Lauren Wein, and Lorin Stein—has selected fifteen projects for funding.

”The work of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund is at the heart of PEN’s mission to facilitate free expression and celebrate literature. By carefully choosing and supporting the translation of important works from around the world that would otherwise remain unknown to English speakers, the PEN/Heim Translation Fund broadens our horizons and extends our cultural reach.” 

—Peter Godwin, President, PEN American Center

”Translation is the lifeblood of literature. The PEN/Heim Translation Fund is at the very center of our lives as readers, making clear each year the richness and variety of what is being done in other languages, thus adding to the freedom of the word to move us and change us.“

—Colm Tóibín, Chairman, PEN World Voices Festival

Kurt Beals for his translation of The Country Road, by Regina Ullmann. (New Directions)

Eric Becker for his translation of Selected Stories by Mozambican Mia Coutu. (Available for publication.)

David Burnett for his translation of American Stories by Johannes Urzidil. (Available for publication)

Paul Hoover, for his translation of Nightmare Running on a Meadow of Absolute Light, by María Baranda. (Available for publication)

Janet Hong for her translation of  Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairytale. (Available for publication)

Andrea G. Labinger for her translation of Gesell Dome, by Guillermo Saccomanno. (Available for publication)

Sergei Levchin for Commentaries by Chris Marker. (Available for publication)

J. Bret Maney for his translation of Manhattan Tropics by Guillermo Cotto-Thorner. (Available for publication)

Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev for I Burned at the FeastbyArseny Tarkovsky. (Cleveland State Poetry Center)

Sayuri Okamoto for Monster: the Naked Poetry of Gozo Yoshimasu. (Available for publication)

Benjamin Paloff for The Game for Real by Richard Weiner. (Available for publication)

Miranda Richmond Mouillot for The Kites, by Romain Gary. (Available for publication)

Zachary Rockwell Ludington for Pixel Flesh (Carne de Pixel) by Agustin Fernandez Mallo. (Available for publication).

Thom Satterlee for New and Selected Poetry of Per Aage Brandt. (Available for publication)

Shohleh Volpe for The Conference of Birds (Man-tiq ut-tayr) by Farid ud-Din Attar. (Available for publication).

More detail about each of these projects, including excerpts, can be found on the PEN website.

The Advisory Board for the PEN/Heim Translation Fund also nominates projects for New York State Council on the Arts translation grants. The two nominees whose projects are being supported by NYSCA in 2014 are:

Edna McCown, for Shanghai, far from where, by German author Ursula Krechel. (Available for publication)

Yvette Siegert for Diana’s Tree, by Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik. (Ugly Duckling Presse)

So many choices for books to publish . . .

In more PEN translation news, last month they awarded translation prizes in three translation-related categories, again via Translationista:

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2013.

Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago), Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2013.

Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (New York Review Books), Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov

PEN/Edward and Lily Tuck Award for Paraguayan Literature($3,000): To a living author of a major work of Paraguayan literature not yet translated into English.


En Tacumbú (El Lector), Raúl Silva Alonso [though I did look into this, and it seems like this work came out in 2006 in Paraguay…interesting–DV]

Last week, the National Endowment for the Arts announced this year’s spate of Translation Fellows, featuring 20 translators receiving $300,000 to bring the best of world literature into English. The winners are below, and you can read about each of their projects here (PDF). Special shoutout to Rosa Alcalá, the only Texas-based translator on this list!!

• Rosa Alcalá, El Paso, TX
• Douglas Basford, Buffalo, NY
• Wendy Call, Seattle, WA
• Enriqueta Carrington, Highland Park, NJ
• Alexander Cigale, New York, NY
• Jennifer Croft, Tiffin, IA
• Bruce Fulton (in collaboration with Ju‐Chan Fulton), Seattle, WA
• Katherine M. Hedeen, Mount Vernon, OH
• Cynthia Hogue, Phoenix, AZ
• Jawid Mojaddedi, Hoboken, NJ
• Philip Pardi, Phoenicia, NY
• Sarah Ponichtera, Brooklyn, NY
• Jacquelyn Pope, Oak Park, IL
• Barbara Romaine, Paoli, PA
• Adam P. Siegel, Davis, CA
• Yvette Siegert, New York, NY
• Steven J. Stewart, Rexburg, ID
• Niloufar Talebi, San Francisco, CA
• Jeffrey Yang, Beacon, NY
• Andrew Zawacki, Athens, GA

Coinciding with the announcement of the translation fellowships, the NEA released an ebook of essays relating to translation, The Art of Empathy: Celebrating Literature in Translation, featuring new and previously-unpublished work by some of the most important and legendary names in the field of literary translation (plus great introductory essays by NEA Chair Jane Chu and NEA Literature Director Amy Stolls…amazing they’re both such proponents of translation and translated literature!!). The essays’ legendary authors include my mentor/bff/bromance Chad Post of Open Letter Books; Dr. Rainer Schulte of UT-Dallas’ Center for Translation Studies (and founder of the American Literary Translators Association [ALTA]); Nicolas Kanellos of Arte Publico Press at the University of Houston (the best chicano/latino publisher in the US, hands down), and tons more people who inspire me, educate me, and remind me of the importance of doing what I do…check it out here (PDF)! The list of (fascinating) essays is below:

“Hearing Voices” by Angela Rodel
A translator’s journey begins with a love of Bulgarian music.

“Choosing a Twin” by Gregory Pardlo
On kinship, mental yoga, and the rebirth of a poem.

“Work of Purpose, Work of Joy” by Charles Waugh
Giving voice to the invisible and forgotten in Vietnam.

“Living with Translation” by Howard Norman
A writer’s deep and enduring immersion in the joys of translation.

“The Collaborative Approach” by Sylvia Li-chun Lin and Howard Goldblatt
A married couple explains how two translators make one work of art.

“By the Light of Translation” by Natasha Wimmer
How the slowest kind of reading leads to an act of seeing.

“An Act of Imagination” by Philip Boehm
The commonalities between a translator and a theater director.

“Daring and Doubting” by Russell Scott Valentino
The translator’s claustrophobic, questioning mind.

“The Sharable Rightness of Meaning” by Esther Allen An ode to the magnificent Michael Henry Heim.

“The Myth of the ‘Three Percent Problem’” by Chad W. Post
What the statistics on translated books in America really tell us.

“A Universe of Layered Worlds” by Olivia E. Sears
The unexpected journey from the exotic to the universal.

“Recovering the Culture” by Nicolás Kanellos
Reaching the Latino community in two languages.

“The Value of Publishing Translation” by John O’Brien
How one publisher found support from other countries.

“Toward an Understanding of Translation” by Rainer Schulte
A reflection on how we communicate and translate in modern-day life.

“Engaging the World” by Susan Harris
The value of writers’ firsthand perspectives.

“Brokers of Babel” by Edward Gauvin
An argument against fidelity.

“A More Complex Occasion” by Pierre Joris
Enriching poetry through the imperfect nature of languages.

“Carrying Words Through Time” by Kazim Ali
The transformation of a poet who translates.

“The Art of Empathy” by Johanna Warren
Learning how to listen.

On a sidenote, the always-awesome ArabLit blog ran a piece this week on Arabic-language authors who will be participating in the 2014 University of Iowa International Writing Program, “among them Saudi author Abdullah al-Wesali, Sudanese writer Sabah Sanhouri, and Egyptian poet, novelist, and translator Ahmed Shafie.” Check out this link to the IWP’s residency program to read excerpts from each author in this year’s program (29 in total), or ArabLit’s page for excerpts from the Arabic authors.

The world is big. There are many books. Let’s read them all.

, , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply