27 September 12 | Chad W. Post

Continuing the series of ALTA preview posts (for those of you who are coming, or who wish you could be here), here’s a list of choice events from Thursday afternoon (which is only one week from now!). Also, just as a reminder, we’ll be videotaping a bunch of these events, so if you see one that intrigues you, stay tuned—you might be able to watch it online by the end of next month.

Thursday, October 4th
1:45 – 3:00 pm

History, Myth & Language in Francophone Literature

In Francophone countries, French is still often the language of literature and thus of the very literate, creating a distance from the indigenous languages of myth, folklore, and the everyday. The way, then, that a Francophone writer chooses to bend and subvert French to reflect his/her experience as a member of an ex-colony is telling. What are the ways in which the translator recognizes and respects these subversions?

Addie Leak: Moderator
David Ball: “Why Translating ‘Francophone’ Writers Means Translating French”
Marjolijn de Jager: “Freedom with French or Freedom from French”


To MFA or Not to MFA: The Translation Question

More and more universities are now offering certificates and degrees in literary translation, and many creative writing MFA programs include translation courses among their regular offerings. What is the status of translation within the creative writing program? Should it be its own track, or program? Can thinking about teaching writing in general make us better teachers of translation?

Susan Bernofsky: Moderator
Geoffrey Brock: “Translation as Creative Writing”
Becka Mara McKay: “Getting MFA Students Involved with Translation”
Russell Valentino: “As Opposed to What?”
Sidney Wade: “The Importance of Imagination in the Pedagogy of Translation”


3:30 – 4:45 pm

Literary Translation & Creative Nonfiction

This panel will consider the ways in which nonfiction writing might serve as a productive
analog for translators. To what extent do literary translation and creative nonfiction share similar “genre” concerns? Can creative nonfiction serve as a feasible alternative to commercial translation for literary translators? And to what extent can translation itself be practiced as a form of creative nonfiction writing?

Annie Janusch | Jennifer Zoble | Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas
Rachael Small | Anne Posten | Janet Hendrickson


The Marketing Toolkit: How Translators Can Make Their Work Matter

A translator’s work isn’t over when the manuscript is submitted. This roundtable will offer a nuts-and-bolts approach to helping your publisher market your work, and to helping the media respond to it and to you. This roundtable is part of an ongoing series of events convened by the PEN Translation Committee as it updates its online Handbook for Literary Translators.

Minna Proctor (Moderator) | Margaret Carson | Tom Roberge |
Ira Silverberg | Matvei Yankelevich

And remember, you can download the entire schedule here.


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Rambling Jack
Rambling Jack by Micheál Ó Conghaile
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“50 pages?”
“Including illustrations.”
“And this—what. . .

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The Things We Don't Do
The Things We Don't Do by Andrés Neuman
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .

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Private Life
Private Life by Josep Maria de Sagarra
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:

When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .

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Dinner by César Aira
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

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. . .

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We're Not Here to Disappear
We're Not Here to Disappear by Olivia Rosenthal
Reviewed by Megan C. Ferguson

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. . .

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The Queen's Caprice
The Queen's Caprice by Jean Echenoz
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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. . .

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French Concession
French Concession by Xiao Bai
Reviewed by Emily Goedde

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. . .

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Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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.. . .

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The Cold Song
The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
Reviewed by David Richardson

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. . .

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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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The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >