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. www.marianschwartz.com.


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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