The World on Our Bookshelves: The Import of Literature in Translation

Where: Pages & Places Festival, ArtWorks, 503 Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton, PA

America is a prolific creator of writers. The world’s first degree-granting creative writing program came into being in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1937, and now some 400 such programs offer undergraduate and/or graduate degrees, each turning out a dozen or more newly credentialed writers every year. But for all that literary productivity, there are many who claim American letters suffers from a terrible insularity, that American readers and writers are not participating in the global literary conversation, that we are to our detriment ignorant of other national literatures.

The World on Our Bookshelves will feature four writers and translators who publish with Open Letter Press, one of American’s leading publishers of literature in translation, and will ask if these criticisms have merit and then explore the various roles that works in translation can and do play in the development of our own national literature.

Confirmed Panelists:

Bragi Ólafsson, Icelandic author of several books of poetry, short stories, and four novels, including The Ambassador which received the Icelandic Bookseller’s Award as best novel of the year.

Margaret Carson translates contemporary fiction, poetry, and drama from Latin America including Sergio Chejfec’s My Two Worlds (forthcoming from Open Letter).

Sergio Chejfec is an Argentine Jewish writer. He has written novels, essays and poetry and publishes Nueva Sociedad, a Venezuelan journal that covers politics, culture, and the social sciences.

Steve Dolph is a translator and the founding editor of Calque


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