It’s that time of year again, when translators can apply for a number of residencies and grants, like the one at the Ledig House (deadline passed, sorry), the PEN Translation Fund (deadline of February 1, 2013), NEA Translation Fellowships (deadline of January 3, 2013), and the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (deadline of February 15, 2013).
I’ve personally never been to Banff (when are you going to start a publisher fellowship program? we deserve a little bit of love, don’t we? please?), but from what I’ve heard, it’s absolutely incredible. It’s a three-week program (taking place from June 3-22, 2013) and provides the perfect setting for translators to work on their projects.
The 15 literary translators who participate in the program each year are from one of the three founding countries – Canada, Mexico, and the United States – translating from any language, as well as from any other country translating literature from the Americas (both the North and South American continents). Each year the program strives to include translators who are at different stages of their careers, from those with only one book-length published translation to veterans who have been translating as a primary professional activity for many years. Since the inaugural program in 2003, the Centre has hosted translators from approximately 30 countries translating work involving nearly 40 languages.
Translators may request a joint residency of up to one week with the author they are translating. Most guest authors come from Canada, the United States, and Mexico, but the program is sometimes able to bring authors from farther afield. Individual work sessions with the consulting translators serving in residence, as well as with the program directors, are also available. Participants meet three times a week for roundtables and presentations, and to discuss work in progress as well as broader issues in the practice of literary translation.
Here’s all the information you need to apply. And if you’re a student, you should keep this in mind:
Each year BILTC accepts one student from each of the following countries: the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Students wishing to apply need not fulfill the publication requirement (see above). Students from Mexico and Canada must apply through their universities. Students from the United States may apply directly to the program.
The NEA announced the recipients of this year’s translation fellowships yesterday, and, as always, there’s a number of interesting projects being supported. You can read about all of them here, and listed below are some of the ones that caught my eye:
Central Square, NY
To support the translation of experimental plays by German playwright Dea Loher. The writer and producer of 20 plays, Loher’s subject matter ranges from small-town life to international events as she explores themes of race, love, violence, and family. Though Loher is one of Germany’s most celebrated playwrights with plays translated into 27 languages, her work is virtually unknown in the United States.
To support the translation of Austrian writer Ilse Aichinger’s collection of short fiction, Bad Words. In these 22 prose pieces, normative reality is taken apart and reconstructed to create a language that uses only the “second best words,” as the title proclaims. Linguistically experimental and thematically absurd, Aichinger’s body of work has garnered more than 20 literary prizes and is vastly underrepresented in English. This translation will be the first to focus on her work from the 1960s.
Sylvia Lichun Lin
To support the translation from Chinese of The Lost Garden, a novel by Taiwanese author Li Ang. Exploring the interconnected themes of politics and gender, the novel chronicles a Taiwanese gentry family from the early days of the Nationalist government’s rule under Chiang Kai-shek to the present. Published in 1990, only three years after the lifting of martial law, The Lost Garden was the first novel to successfully portray a fictional account of the White Terror Era. Ang is considered one of the most prolific, daring, and innovative writers in the contemporary Chinese-language literary community.
To support a new translation from Urdu of Paigham Afaqui’s first novel, The House. Since its publication in 1989, Afaqui’s account of a young female landlord, Neera, and her predatory tenant, Kumar, has been a staple on reading lists in schools and universities across India. Literature in Urdu is particularly patriarchal, and Neera’s story draws a sharp contrast to that tradition and to the stereotypical roles placed on women in Indian society. In addition to writing and founding the Indian Academy of fiction, Afaqui is deputy commissioner of the Delhi Police.
To support the translation from Spanish of three works of contemporary fiction by Daniel Sada. Born in Mexico in 1953, Sada died in the fall of 2011 only hours after being awarded Mexico’s most prestigious literary honor, the National Prize for Arts and Sciences for Literature. His writing is infused with a passion for experimental storytelling, but the most pervasive theme in his work is language itself, specifically the viability and limitations of the Spanish language in contemporary Mexican culture.
To support the translation from Spanish of short fiction by contemporary Salvadoran author Claudia Hernández. These four short story collections, published from 2001-07, explore the brutal impact of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war and focus indirectly on the themes of displacement, desensitization, and fear. Garnering international praise, Hernández was the first Central American artist to win the Juan Rulfo Prize for short stories. In 2004, she was awarded the prestigious Anna Seghers prize, an annual award given to young authors in Germany and Latin America.
To support the translation of an anthology of short fiction by young Vietnamese writers, New Voices from Vietnam. All 19 authors included in this project are under the age of 35, and their work represents a culture and aesthetic that differs radically from previous generations of Vietnamese writers, reflecting stories from a vibrant culture racing through changes wrought by rapid modernization and globalization. There is a lack of contemporary Vietnamese prose represented in English, and this project offers an unprecedented collection.
Congrats to everyone!
Continuing in our day of prize announcements, this morning the NEA released info on this year’s Translation Fellowships. The NEA awarded $200,000 in grant money to 16 translators—many of whom I know personally—for a wide range of projects.
This is always one of the most exciting announcements of the granting season [sic—I don’t know if two awards constitute a “season” but still] for me, since it’s exciting to see so many excellent translators and good friends receive these rather generous awards (recipients receive either $12,500 or $25,000), and there’s always at least 3 or 4 projects that I’d like to publish, or at least read.
Here’s the full list of winners and descriptions of their projects. Bios of the translators can be found here.
Complete descriptions of all sixteen funded projects can be found here, but in addition to the projects E.J. mentioned—Charlotte Mandell’s translation of Mathias Enard’s Zone and Martha Tennent’s translation of Merce Rodoreda’s stories—below are a few of the others that caught my eye (with all descriptions from the NEA website unless noted):
And here’s the list of all the other recipients:
Diane Arnson Svarlien
Tina A. Kover
Congratulations to everyone—this is a great group of translators and a great group of projects.
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .