AWP15 Bookfair Bingo: Translation!

This year, to help navigate the overwhelming riches of the #AWP15 bookfair, join ALTA for a game of Translation Bookfair Bingo! One person each day will win 26+ amazing books from the 25 incredible independent presses participating in the game. (See below for the books you could win!). bookfair bingo cardSo here’s how to play.

  1. Come to the ALTA booth (1407) and pick up a card.
  2. Go to the tables on the Bookfair Bingo card and have them mark your card.
  3. Return the fully completed card to us, and keep an eye on your email or Twitter or both to see if you won for the day!

Easy, and a great way to find some of the most interesting international literature at AWP.

Participating Presses & Books:

Action Books

Alice James Books

Archipelago Books

Argos Books

BOA Editions

Coffee House Press

Copper Canyon Press

Deep Vellum

Graywolf Press

Les Figues Press

Litmus Press

A Midsummer Night’s Press


  • Fortino Samano, by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy, trans. Sylvain Gallais and Cynthia Hogue (winner of the 2013 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets)
  • Spectacle & Pigsty, by Kiwao Nomura, trans. Forrest Gander and Kyoko Yoshida (winner of the Best Translated Book Award for Poetry, 2012 and winner of the 2012 Memorial Rekitei Prize for Poetry)
  • Songs without Words, by Paul Verlaine, trans. Donald Revell

Open Letter Books

Persea Books

Phoneme Media

Red Hen Press

Tavern Books

  • Skin, by Tone Škrjanec, trans. Matthew Rohrer & Ana Pepelnik
  • Duino Elegies, by Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Gary Miranda

Tupelo Press

Two Lines Press

Ugly Duckling Presse

Unnamed Press

Wave Books

White Pine Press

Zephyr Press

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Call for Submissions: Underpass, new journal for international literature

New International Literary Journal Accepting Submissions

Underpass, a new online journal for international literature, is accepting submissions of short fiction and narrative nonfiction from established and new writers from around the world.

For the launch edition, we’re accepting submissions of short stories, narrative nonfiction pieces, and excerpts from longer work that has been translated into English. A very small percentage of books published in the United States each year are translations and most are translated from French, German, and Spanish. At Underpass, we want to hear from the rest of planet.

We are particularly interested in writing that has been translated from languages other than French, German, and Spanish and provides English-speaking readers a window into a different country, neighborhood, culture, perspective. Submissions should be fewer than 7,500 words. Accompanying images, art, and photographs are encouraged.

To submit, please follow these directions:

Send a Word document of the English language version.

  • Include a PDF document of the submission in the original language. Please let us know if it has previously been published in the original language.
  • Include a short author bio and a translator bio in English. Please describe any past publication experience.
  • All submission should be sent electronically to
  • Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis. To be included in the launch edition planned for summer 2015, please send your submission by April 30.
  • We will respond as fast as we can–hopefully within one month of submission.
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A Whole Different Animal: Report from ALTA 2014 Fellow Christopher Tamigi

Each year 4-6 emerging translators are awarded $1000 each to travel to the ALTA conference, where they participate in panels, workshops, and readings. Applications to be an ALTA fellow are open until May 1. More information here.

Christopher Tamigi received the ALTA Travel Fellowship to attend the 2014 ALTA conference in Milwaukee.

Christopher Tamigi received the ALTA Travel Fellowship to attend the 2014 ALTA conference in Milwaukee.

I remember having a conversation with some other young translators in the hotel lobby on the last night of the 2014 ALTA Conference. At one point the ergative case came up, and I learned that there’s an international network of Esperanto enthusiasts who are happy to let fellow speakers crash on their couch. I also remember ALTA fellow Sara Novic giving us an impromptu demonstration on how to talk smack in ASL. This is the sort of thing that can happen when you bring a couple hundred translators—people from across the country and beyond, working on all kinds of different projects in a myriad of languages—together for a long weekend.

This is actually my second time at ALTA. I had an opportunity to attend the 2013 conference in Bloomington, and since then I’ve been recommending the experience to other translators back at the University of Arkansas. I often compare it to the other writerly conference I’ve been to (AWP), which boasts thousands of attendees and features evening readings by celebrity authors. While it has its good points, I found the atmosphere there somewhat disheartening: just look at all these aspiring writers and poets; what makes me think I’ll be one of the select few who ever get published? And, given the size of the conference, it almost goes without saying that I never got a chance to shake hands with any of the celebrity authors.

My experience at ALTA was a whole different animal. I remember attending a panel of editors from different journals that publish literature in translation: my take-away from that was, basically, “We’re always on the lookout for new stuff; keep sending us your translations!” I actually left feeling inspired. And there are no velvet cordons at ALTA: members of the “old guard” of well-established literary translators are happy to talk to newbies: sharing anecdotes and seasoned advice, discussing your current project or future career plans. It’s a welcoming atmosphere, and ALTA members did make me feel as though we’re all colleagues in this “thankless” field.

I was so honored to be awarded a 2014 ALTA fellowship for emerging translators. The other five fellows are among the friends I made at ALTA who I plan to keep in touch with and see again inside and outside the context of future conferences. Compared to 2013, this time around there were more readings and events organized in the evening (many of which had buffets). This included the closing event where we had the honor of hearing a bilingual reading of poetry (not to mention a rendition of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”) in the languages spoken by Wisconsin’s indigenous peoples and a vibrant performance by a local “Spanglish” poet. For me these events were all the more welcome because, after exploring the city some on my first day there, the frigid Milwaukee weather dissuaded me from wandering too far from the hotel. Just looking at the list of future locations I get the sense that ALTA conferences are only getting better, and I look forward to seeing everyone next year in Tucson.

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MLA Call For Papers: Translation and Transcultural Audiences

MLA CFP: Translation and Transcultural Audiences

This special session at the 2016 MLA Convention in Austin will examine the role of translation in developing new audiences for literary texts, especially texts with multiple translations in different languages and for different time periods. How have translations created new audiences in the past and created contemporary audiences for classical texts? Furthermore, how can translations allow for additional potential audiences in the future? Email a 300-word abstract by March 15, 2015 to For questions, please contact Erin Riddle at

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That Rare Joy of Being Understood: Report from ALTA 2014 Fellow Sara Novic

Each year 4-6 emerging translators are awarded $1000 each to travel to the ALTA conference, where they participate in panels, workshops, and readings. Applications to be an ALTA fellow are open until May 1. More information here.

Sara Novic received the ALTA Travel Fellowship to attend the 2014 ALTA conference in Milwaukee.

Sara Novic received the ALTA Travel Fellowship to attend the 2014 ALTA conference in Milwaukee.

I still have Milwaukee plugged into the weather app on my phone. It’s one of several cities in the scroll—New York, where I actually live, then Boston, Philly, Zagreb (places I once lived, and frequently visit), and Melbourne (where I spent last summer). Then Milwaukee, a place to which I really have no connection at all, except for the few days I spent there in November at the ALTA conference. Still, I can’t yet bring myself to delete it from the list. Part of it is the perverse pleasure of seeing exactly how cold it can get there—as I write this, it’s 17F here in Queens, but 1 degree in Milwaukee. But the other part of it is the feeling of homecoming I get when I think about the conference.

Growing up alongside but not quite in several languages and cultures, I often felt out of place. I could count on one hand the number of times I remember the clear feeling of being “at home” or among “my people.” One was in Croatia, when my friends and I crashed in the abandoned ruins of a house taken out by the war, then stayed up late speaking “Cringlish”—Croatian sentence structure injected with English stand-ins for the vocabulary I was lacking, then conjugated with Croatian verb endings. One was some late night in a dark bar in Morningside Heights, where I talked books with my workshop mates from the MFA at Columbia. And another time was at the ALTA conference.

What happened at the conference was perhaps even more spectacular because, unlike those other times, when I was with my peers, at ALTA everyone was a far more established and decorated translator than I am. Still, on that very first night a group of ALTA veterans invited another Fellow and me to join them at their table simply because we had conference name tags on. I remember being surprised by their initial friendliness, and even more so by the ease with which the subsequent conversation flowed. I haven’t been to any other kinds of conferences, but I can guess from my experience in gatherings with other writers and academics that this feeling of instantaneous welcome and ease is not the norm. Perhaps because translators are used to working behind-the-scenes, there was no competitiveness between us, no expectation that we should be starstruck by the experts all around us (though I was, frequently).

Our days were filled with seminars and readings, groups of various focuses and sizes. But some of my favorite moments were the ones in which we were gathered all together—the commemoration of Michael Henry Heim, the National Translation Award celebration for Eugene Ostashevsky and Matvei Yankelevich, the ALTA Fellows Reading, and Declamación. In those moments, the sheer number of people in a room made what we were doing feel far from “behind-the-scenes”—rather a sense of urgency was palpable; we were in this together and it was important.

The Fellows Reading was the biggest audience I’d ever read in front of, and the outpouring of support was beyond anything I could’ve expected. While my fellow Fellows read, I felt almost embarrassed to be in the company of such talent. Afterwards, at the reception, we received such positive feedback, I remember turning to the other fellows and saying, “These are the most compliments we are ever going to receive! We should write this down!”

On our last night in town, after Declamación, a group of us (only one of whom I’d known before I got there) went to the hotel bar and drank Milwaukee beers and talked late into the night about the uses of semicolon across languages, and the grammatical cases of Slavic languages, and I felt that rare joy of being understood. The plane ride the next morning didn’t feel much like going home at all.

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Vacancy: Assistant Professor in Japanese

FLL – Assistant Professor in Japanese

Advertising Copy – March 2015

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee invites

applications for a tenure-track position in Japanese literature and culture, contingent on budgetary

Candidates must have their Ph.D. in Japanese language or culture in-hand by the time of employment, a

demonstrated record of scholarly publications, and native or near-native fluency in Japanese and

Preferred qualifications include: extensive experience in teaching contemporary Japanese literature,

culture, and language at all levels, experience in supervising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate

students, experience in program management and development, and willingness to serve as coordinator

for Japanese and its associated study abroad programs.

The successful candidate will participate in the interdepartmental Translation and M.A. programs.

Our standard teaching load is two courses per semester.

Initial review of applications will begin immediately; applications received after April 30, 2015 will not be

Please submit application letter, curriculum vitae, statement of scholarly and teaching interests, and

three confidential letters of reference prior to May 1, 2015.

Applicants should upload all the items into the application system via the following link:

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is an EEO/AA employer.

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A Line of Blue Yaks: Report From ALTA 2014 Fellow Annie Tucker

Each year 4-6 emerging translators are awarded $1000 each to travel to the ALTA conference, where they participate in panels, workshops, and readings. Applications to be an ALTA fellow are open until May 1. More information here.

Annie Tucker received the ALTA Travel Fellowship to attend the 2014 ALTA conference in Milwaukee.

Annie Tucker received the ALTA Travel Fellowship to attend the 2014 ALTA conference in Milwaukee.

For me, being a 2014 ALTA Fellow led to professional development, new social connections, and a huge surge in energy and appreciation for the field that borders on the hysterical. The first two elements are covered in the first two paragraphs of this little reflection, and then the last one sort of takes over the entire rest of it. If you are in an expansive mood and ready for the zeal of a convert, read on!

I am very new to the world of literary translating—really about as emerging as emerging can be—so the panels focusing in professional development were incredibly useful for me. I got all sorts of great tips about what kinds different magazines and journals are out there and what they might be looking for, heard inspiring ideas about marketing and promotion that had me furiously taking notes, noted all the presses selling books, and just learned a lot about the publishing industry in general.

The best part was that I didn’t just listen to professionals from afar, but got the chance to enjoy friendly introductions afterwards, share my enthusiasms with editors and others, and discuss possibilities for future submissions. Throughout conference events, my appointed mentor ushered me about and I got to talk to lots of people; this was wonderful for me, as I tend to be a bit shy.

As the conference went on, and I met more conference attendees, this peculiar but pleasant feeling of recognition and identification kept emerging. These people had lives that looked like mine, and cared about the same things I cared about! Where else could I ever find such a bunch of world travellers with autodidactic tendencies and esoteric hobbies? Where else could I ever find people as devoted to human rights as they are to their crushes on Zadie Smith?

On that note of connection and identification, one thing I was struck by, and continue to be struck by as I learn more about the ALTA community and all their different organizations and ventures, is generosity—the willingness people have to give their time and share information and the feeling of genuine support and camaraderie. There seems to be a collective investment in the growth of literary translation and a sense that a victory for one is a victory for all. I have experience in other similarly underdog (or at least, underfunded) fields and have been frustrated by their territorial and competitive nature, an urgent hoarding of precious slim pickings taking place under a veneer of community. Not so at ALTA, apparently, where warm welcomes were immediately followed up by enthusiastic suggestions and shared ideas for funding, residencies, publication, etc.

During the opening reception, one of the elder members told the group of fellows that part of what makes the ALTA conference such a friendly place is that translators, by the very nature of their work, care about what other people have to say. Throughout the conference—and perhaps it was because of this year’s theme about politics—I got the sense that we all understand that we are part of a larger mission, and this mission is as much about outrage as it is about artistry, as much about building mutual understanding and hearing one another grieve as it is about wanting to share a great story. Before coming to ALTA I had certainly thought about that in regards to my own translation projects but I don’t think it had hit me how in so many ways so many of us are doing the same thing.

But alongside all of this—perhaps because I am a nerd—my favorite part of the conference was simply hearing all the literature in translation, at Declamacion and the bilingual readings. I have been left with so many exquisite sounds and images that, rather than fading into the haze of an amazing weekend, have stayed with me. I find myself thinking again and again of a line of blue yaks on a mountain ridge in Tibet; or a Persian emigree on a train in Europe, perfumed and naked lying under the sheets in her sleeper car; or the couple in an old Polish nursery rhyme, arguing over who should go and greet Death, who is knocking at the door…. And I could go on like this steadily until the next conference!

ALTA 2014 was an immersive and joyful experience, a true embarrassment of riches. It was an honor and pleasure to be part of it all and I want to take this opportunity to once again thank the organizers, my fellow fellows, and all the participants.

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