The Susan Sontag Foundation recently announced Julia Powers and Adam Morris as the winners of their 2012 Prize for Translation. Every June, the $5,000 prize is awarded to a literary translator under the age of 30 over the course of five months, during which the proposed project must be completed. The award was established to foster the development of a new generation of literary translators and increase the number of works in translation published in the United States. This year, the prize will be split between Powers and Morris, who will each translate a work by Hilda Hilst, a Brazilian poet, novelist, and playwright. Known for writing about intimacy, insanity, and supernatural events, Hilst wrote for 50 years, during which she won almost every major Brazilian literary prize.
Julia Powers will translate Contos d’escárnio/Textos grotescos, a short, satirical novel with elements of confessionalism and radical criticism. A graduate of Amherst College, Powers has worked as an editor for the Hudson Review and recently received a Fulbright research grant to translate literature in Salvador, Brazil. This fall, she will begin her Ph.D. in Comparative literature at Yale University.
Adam Morris’s project, A obscena senhora D, is an erotic narrative that draws inspiration from the field of psychoanalysis. Morris is currently working toward a Ph.D. at Stanford University, studying 20th and 21st century Latin American literature. He has been published in CR: The New Centennial Review, The Luso-Brazilian Review, parallax, Zyzzyva, and Public Books.
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
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. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
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. . .