The American Literary Translators Association to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

May 9, 2018—National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $15,000 to the American Literary Translators Association to support the annual ALTA conference. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as the American Literary Translators Association, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

“We are delighted to be among the organizations awarded funding this year, and incredibly grateful for the NEA’s support,” said ALTA Executive Director Elisabeth Jaquette. The $15,000 award will support ALTA’s 41st annual conference, “Performance, Props, and Platforms,” held this year in Bloomington, Indiana from October 31-November 3.

ALTA’s conference is the only one in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to literary translation. It brings together nearly 500 professional literary translators, editors, educators, students, publishers, and literary arts professionals to discuss the art, practice, theory, funding, publication, and promotion of works of literary translation into English. The conference includes panels, workshops, roundtables, readings, and events on literary translation with local community and arts organizations. It also inaugurates a new season of ALTA’s Emerging Translator Mentorship Program, which facilitates a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a project selected by the latter.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

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Meet the 2018-19 Mentors for Emerging Translator Mentorship Program!

The ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program is open for submissions! This program is designed to facilitate and establish a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a project selected by the emerging translator. The mentorship duration is approximately one year. The emerging translator is expected to choose a project that can be completed in a year’s time, and they will only be advised on that particular project.

We’re delighted to be able to offer four mentorships this year: Polish prose, with mentor Bill Johnston; Russian prose, with mentor Marian Schwartz; non-language-specific poetry, with mentor Kareem James Abu-Zeid; and non-language-specific prose, with mentor Madhu H. Kaza. Find out more about our mentors here:

Bill Johnston is Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. He Bill Johnstonhas published over thirty book-length translations from the Polish, including poetry, prose, and drama. He has won numerous awards, including the Best Translated Book Award, the PEN Translation Prize, the AATSEEL Translation Prize (twice), and the Found in Translation Award (twice). He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His most recent translations include Julia Fiedorczuk’s Oxygen (Zephyr Press, 2017) And Adam Mickiewicz’s epic narrative poem Pan Tadeusz (Archipelago Books, forthcoming).

Marian Schwartz is a freelance translator of classic and contemporary Russian fiction as well as history, criticism, and fine arts. She is the principal English translator of theMarian Schwartz works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, Mikhail Lermontov, and Leo Tolstoy. Her most recent publication is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1 (University of Notre Dame Press).  Forthcoming are Leonid Yuzefovich’s Horsemen of the Sands (Archipelago) and Olga Slavnikova’s The Man Who Couldn’t Die: The Tale of an Authentic Human Being (Russian Library, Columbia University Press), as well as Book 2 of Solzhenitsyn’s March 1917. She is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association and the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships, as well as numerous awards, including the 2014 Read Russia Prize for Contemporary Russian Literature and the 2016 Soeurette Diehl Frasier Award from the Texas Institute of Letters.

Kareem James Abu-ZeidKareem James AbuZeid is a translator, editor, writer, and scholar. As a translator of Arabic literature, he seeks to introduce the writings of poets and novelists from across the Arab world to a broader international audience. He was awarded PEN Center USA’s 2017 Translation Prize and a 2018 NEA Grant, and has received residencies from the Banff Center and the Lannan Foundation, as well as a Fulbright Fellowship. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and also works as a translator from French and German, and as a ghostwriter.

Born in Andhra Pradesh, India, Madhu H. Kaza is a writer, translator, artist and Madhu Kazaeducator based in New York City. She is a translator of the contemporary Telugu women writers Volga and Vimala. Her co-translation of Volga’s Political Stories was published by Swetcha Press in 2006. She is the co-editor of an anthology, What We Love, and the editor of Kitchen Table Translation, a volume that explores the connection between translation and migration and which features immigrant, diasporic and poc translators. She has led translation workshops and curated Kitchen Table Translation events across the US and in Ghana and in India. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Chimurenga, Waxwing, Guernica, Feminist Spaces, Gulf Coast and more. She directs the Bard Microcollege at Brooklyn Public Library and has taught writing at New York University, The New School and most recently for the MFA program at Columbia University.

Applications for these mentorships will only be accepted through our online Submittable portal through May 13, 2018. The selected mentees will be announced in August. Further information regarding submissions, judges, and mentorships may also be found there and on our website.

These mentorships are being offered by ALTA in partnership with AmazonCrossing, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, and the Russian Federation Institute of Literary Translation.

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Transference Literary Journal Open for Submissions!

Calling for submissions to Transference!

Transference is published by the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University. Dedicated to the celebration of poetry in translation, the journal publishes translations from Arabic, Chinese, French and Old French, German, classical Greek, Latin, and Japanese into English verse. Transference features translations as well as commentaries on the art and process of translating. New voices are especially welcome!

Interested parties should submit by the May 31 deadline. For more information, please see the Transference webpage or contact the journal at

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Meet the 2018 Judges for the Cliff Becker Book Prize!

The Cliff Becker Prize is given to an unpublished book-length manuscript of poetry in translation. The translator of the winning manuscript will receive a standard publication contract with White Pine Press. In lieu of an advance against royalties, the translator will receive a prize of $1,000. The winning manuscript will be published within a calendar year of selection. This year’s submissions for the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation are open until April 16, 2018.

This year we’re thrilled to have Daniel Borzutzky, Aaron Coleman, and Mani Rao on board as judges for the Cliff Becker Prize! Find out more about our judges below:

Daniel Borzutzky Headshot Nov. 2016Daniel Borzutzky is a poet and translator, and the author of Lake Michigan (2018) and The Performance of Becoming Human, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry. His other books include In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy, Memories of My Overdevelopment, and The Book of Interfering Bodies. His translation of Galo Ghigliotto’s Valdivia won ALTA’s 2017 National Translation Award for Poetry. Other translations include Raúl Zurita’s The Country of Planks and Song for His Disappeared Love; and Jaime Luis Huenun’s Port Trakl. He lives in Chicago.


Aaron Coleman is the author of Threat Come Close (Four Way Books, 2018) and the chapbook St. Trigger, selected by Adrian Matejka for the 2015 Button Poetry Prize. A Fulbright Scholar and Cave Canem Fellow, Aaron’s poems have appeared in Boston ReviewFENCENew York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. Winner of the ALTA Peter K. Jansen Memorial Fellowship, the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Contest, and the Cincinnati Review Schiff Award, Aaron is currently a PhD student in Comparative Literature at Washington University St. Louis.

Mani Profile 2015Mani Rao has eight poetry books including New & Selected Poems (Poetrywala, 2014), Ghostmasters (Chameleon, 2010), and Echolocation (Math Paper Press, 2014) and two books in translation from Sanskrit— The Bhagavad Gita (Autumn Hill Books, 2010) and Kalidasa for the 21st Century Reader (Aleph, 2015). She was a Visiting Fellow at the Iowa IWP in 2005 and 2009, and the 2006 Uni of Iowa International Programs writer-in-residence. Mani has an MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Religious Studies. See for a full list of publications and links.

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Meet the Judges for the 2018 Italian Prose in Translation Award!

The Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA), which was inaugurated in 2015, recognizes the importance of contemporary Italian prose (fiction and literary non-fiction) and promotes the translation of Italian works into English. This $5,000 prize will be awarded annually to a translator of a recent work of Italian prose (fiction or literary non-fiction). The winning translators and books are featured at the annual ALTA conference. Submissions are open until April 16, 2018.

We are delighted to have Geoffrey Brock, Peter Constantine, and Sarah Stickney as this year’s IPTA judges! Find out more about them below:

Geoffrey Brock is the author of two collections of poetry, the editor of The FSG Book of geoffrey-brock20th-Century Italian Poetry, and the translator of books by Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Roberto Calasso, and others. His translations have appeared in magazines such as Poetry, Paris Review, and The New Yorker, and his many translation awards include fellowships from the NEA, the Academy of American Poets, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas.


Peter Constantine - photo Annette Hornischer-2

Photo credit: Annette Hornischer

Peter Constantine is the director of the Program in Literary Translation at the University of Connecticut. His recent translations include Augustine’s ConfessionsThe Essential Writings of RousseauThe Essential Writings of Machiavelli, and works by Tolstoy, Gogol, Sophocles, and Voltaire. A Guggenheim Fellow, he was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann, and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov. He is the publisher of World Poetry Books and the editor-in-chief of New Poetry in Translation.


Sarah StickneySarah Stickney received her MFA in poetry from the University of New Hampshire. She is a former Fulbright Grantee for the translation of Italian/Albanian poet Gëzim Hajdari. Her co-translations of Elisa Biagini’s selected poems, The Guest in the Wood, received the Best Translated Book Award for poetry in 2014. Her poems and translations have appeared  in the U.S. and abroad in publications such as Modern Poetry in Translation, Rhino, The Portland Review, Drunken Boat, Mudlark, Structo, Bateau, and others. Her manuscript Portico was selected by Thomas Lux as winner of the Emrys Press chapbook award in 2016.

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