Proud to announce our very first book, the remarkable Texas: The Great Theft has won the 2014 Typographical Era Translation Award!!!
What an incredible honor for our remarkable author Carmen Boullosa & her marvelous translator Samantha Schnee!! From Typographical Era:
Holy shit. That was a close race. In fact, up until yesterday morning it seemed like any one of three different books could claim the prize, but in the final hours Texas went from third to first and won it all.
Congratulations to author Carmen Boullosa, translator Samantha Schnee, and publisher Deep Vellum. They’ll each receive one of our gold plated brass miniature vintage typewriters as a reward.
If you haven’t read Texas: The Great Theft yet, now would be an excellent time to check it out. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
Check out the amazing prize, miniature vintage typewriters!!
If you are in New York City tonight, please head over to the Instituto Cervantes NYC to catch Carmen Boullosa in conversation with Phillip Lopate, moderated by Daniel Shapiro, Literary Director of the Americas Society, for a discussion is entitled “Great Voices from Mexico & the USA” and the program will begin at 7:00pm. The event is free!!
For someone to write about what no one else dares to say regarding him or herself, and to do it through the particular freedom offered by essays and poetry, is an act of courage only attained by a select group of writers. It is an act that never ceases to be a reflection about the problems that concern them and to which they constantly return. Boullosa and Lopate, two Manhattan spirits, a pair as unintentional as it is exquisite, will delight the audience by sharing their desires, obsessions and reflections. Moderated by critic and writer Daniel Shapiro. Free admission
In more Boullosa & Schnee-related news, check out the timely review of Texas: The Great Theft that ran last week in People’s World by Jim Lane, “Racism isn’t new in Texas,” here’s the first paragraph:
When federal judge Andrew S. Hanen, an Anglo in Brownsville, Texas, ruled on Feb. 17 that four million undocumented workers should give up the hopes inspired by President Obama’s plan to ease up on deportations, he was following a long precedent from his area. Racism in Brownsville set off fabled historical events in 1859 that are explored in Mexican author Carmen Boullosa’s new book.
Also, Samantha Schnee was featured on the super cool blog Authors & Translators talking about her relationships with her authors, most notably her relationship with Boullosa and how they collaborated on Texas & other works, check out the full interview here: “Samantha Schnee & Her Authors.”
What is the most enriching experience you have had?
The relationships you build with authors are incredibly enriching. Recently I did a reading with Carmen Boullosa to present her new novel TEXAS and it was fascinating to hear Carmen talk about how she felt about the translation. I feel very fortunate to have worked with the authors I’ve had the opportunity to translate.
What made you feel closest to an author?
I loved reading that, in Carmen’s interview with you, she said, “I have devoured my translators.” For me it conjures the image of a wild-haired, female Cronos, devouring Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon, but we all know how that story ends and I don’t want to do battle Carmen because I would lose! I think of the author-translator relationship slightly differently: when Carmen and I were translating an excerpt from THE PERFECT NOVEL I was stumped by the references therein to a character called Sariux. Carmen had to explain to me that in Mexico City this suffix, ‘iux,’ is a term of endearment that husbands often append to their wives’ names—hence the narrator’s wife Sara became Sariux. After that I started signing my emails to Carmen ‘Samantiux’ because, in a sense, I felt like her wife (or helpmeet, or amanuensis). As a dear friend of mine once said (and she, like me, is a staunch feminist), “We all need a wife!”
What have you found most difficult to translate?
The voice of the narrator in TEXAS was really tricky for me to pin down because she’s (and that’s my guess, because his/her gender is never specified) an omniscient narrator who never appears as a character—the reader never learns anything about her other than how she thinks, her opinions. So it took me a long time to pin down that voice at the beginning of the novel. Then there’s the complicating factor of language; every language has its own personality (eg. direct vs indirect). So is it ever entirely possible to capture the precise personality of a narrator in a language other than the original? I don’t know; I think, after translating TEXAS, perhaps not.
And on a more somber note, but still relating to Texas: The Great Theft, the New York Times recently reported on a landmark study on the history of lynchings in the United States, which was then followed a few days later by an op-ed penned by Drs. William D. Carrigan & Clive Webb, co-authors of the book Forgotten Dead: Mob Violence Against Mexicans in the United States, 1848-1928, calling attention to the Mexican victims of lynchings throughout American history that forms the core of events at the heart of Texas: The Great Theft. From Carrigan & Webb’s article that is getting much discussion, “When Americans Lynched Mexicans:”
From 1848 to 1928, mobs murdered thousands of Mexicans, though surviving records allowed us to clearly document only about 547 cases. These lynchings occurred not only in the southwestern states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, but also in states far from the border, like Nebraska and Wyoming.
Some of these cases did appear in press accounts, when reporters depicted them as violent public spectacles, as they did with many lynchings of African-Americans in the South. For example, on July 5, 1851, a mob of 2,000 in Downieville, Calif., watched the extralegal hanging of a Mexican woman named Juana Loaiza, who had been accused of having murdered a white man named Frank Cannon.
Those who have already read Texas: The Great Theft will remember the Eagles sitting around the table at Mrs. Big’s chanting the name of Frank Cannon, the year 1851, boiling over to a rage, evoking the tortured history of racial relations in America…
All of these articles only serve to remind me why I signed on Texas: The Great Theft in the first place: it is a tremendous book, a truly important piece of historical fiction that is done so well that it seems the story could be contemporary. The issues (race, class, border) at the heart of Texas are, sadly, still the same as they were that boiling hot summer of 1859 when Juan Nepomuceno Cortina struck back and for the first time called for La Raza to stand up and fight…
Get your copy of Texas: The Great Theft today from us or your local bookstore, and see why D Magazine, in their insightful review of the book back in October, called “historical fiction, but it feels like current events.”