30 March 15 | Chad W. Post | Comments

If you happen to live in Rochester, or would like to visit and check our Open Letter and/or the University of Rochester’s Literary Translation Programs, I HIGHLY encourage you to come out this Thursday for one of the most star-studded translation events we’ve ever put together.

In honor of The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim & A Life in Translation, the three editors of this volume—Esther Allen, Sean Cotter, and Russell Scott Valentino—are coming to town to talk about Heim and his lasting influence on a variety of aspects of the field of literary translation.

Esther, Sean, and Russell (all of whom are greatly respected for their own personal translations) did an amazing job putting this book together, creating a volume that’s both a homage to one of the most important literary figures of the twentieth century and a book that adds a lot to translation studies. The essays in this book—from a variety of contributors, including Dubrakva Ugresic, Celia Hawkesworth, Rosanna Warren, Maureen Freely, Alex Zucker, Breon Mitchell, and more—are by turns engaging, heartbreaking, brilliant, and intellectually stimulating.

I’ll be moderating this panel, and there will be a reception to follow.

So, if you’re in the area, here are the specifics

RTWCS: Michael Henry Heim & A Life in Translation
Thursday, April 2nd at 5:00pm
Welles-Brown Room in Rush Rhees Library (755 Library Road at the U of R)

Hope to see you there!

9 December 14 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

For those of you who haven’t yet seen the Facebook posts and re-posts, we are thrilled (and grateful) that Open Letter has once again received an Arts Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The grant awarded to the press for 2015 was one of the largest awarded this year.

From the press release published by the University of Rochester:

“The $60,000 grant will support the publication and promotion of several books in 2015, including Rochester Knockings, a novel based on the Rochester-based religious movement of Spiritualism and the famous Fox Sisters.

‘We’re extremely grateful to the NEA for this generous award,’ said Open Letter Publisher Chad W. Post. ‘To be awarded the third largest grant in the literature category is one of the highest honors a nonprofit publisher can receive. But even more importantly is that this award allows us to introduce English readers to six amazing new books.’

The press was one of 55 organizations to receive a grant in this year’s literature category. In 2014, the NEA received more than 1,400 applications for Arts Works grants, requesting more than $75 million in funding.

. . .

In addition to supporting the publication of Rochester Knockings (translated by Jennifer Grotz, associate professor of English at Rochester), the grant will support the publication of five additional books: Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven (translated by J.T. Mahany ’13); Traces of Time; Rock, Paper, Scissors; So Much, So Much War; and Loquela (translated by Will Vanderhyden ’13).”

For the full release and more information, go here.

For more information on the NEA and its work, go here.

15 September 10 | Chad W. Post | Comments

This is for all the CNY folks: Paul Auster will be on campus on September 30th to give a George H. Ford Lecture on “Fiction and Translation.” This event is being co-sponsored by the George H. Ford Lecture Fund, the Department of English, and the Reading the World Conversation Series.

Very cool opportunity to see Auster in an intimate setting (if you consider a room that seats 150 people to be intimate), and I’m sure he’ll have a lot of interesting things to say about translation. He’s always been a big advocate of French—and world—literature, and has published a number of translations, including pieces by Edmond Jabes, Pierre Clastres, Jacques Dupin, and others. (The complete list is available here.)

The event will take place from 5-6 on Thursday, September 30th in the Hawkins-Carlson Room in the Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester’s campus. Should be cool, should be crowded. I recommend getting there early, since there’s no ticketing process . . .

17 March 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

With our Politics of Translation event coming up next Monday, this seems like a good time to post the video of a different event that we hosted last fall.

As part of the Reading the World Conversation Series, this “Translators’ Roundtable” brought together four literary translators—who work in a variety of languages and genres—to discuss their experiences. The conversation explored a number of different topics, from how they got started as translators, to the obstacles of retranslating classic works, to translating film scripts during the writers’ strike, etc.

In attendance were Michael Emmerich, Edward Gauvin, Marian Schwartz, and Martha Tennent. There’s a lot of brilliant discussion here—one of my favorite points coming from Michael who makes a case to those who lean on the phrase “Lost in Translation” that it is, instead, and “100% gain.”


Translators’ Roundtable from Open Letter Books on Vimeo.

23 August 07 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Beginning this fall semester (which is literally upon us), undergraduates at the University of Rochester will be able to receive a Certificate in Literary Translation Studies. This info has been at the bottom of the page since we went live, but for anyone interested, we now have PDFs of the requirements and application form.

John Michael (john.michael@rochester.edu) is the CLTS advisor, so please feel free to contact him with any questions.

Information about graduate-level programs will be available later this year.

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This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

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A Dilemma
A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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Walker on Water
Walker on Water by Kristiina Ehin
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

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The Nightwatches of Bonaventura
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Reviewed by J. T. Mahany

Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .

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Pavane for a Dead Princess by Park Min-Gyu
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .

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Tram 83
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Reviewed by Caitlin Thomas

Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .

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Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic by Octave Mirbeau
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .

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