Translation Events at AWP19

Planning to come to Portland, OR from March 27 – 30, 2019 for the Association for Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference to enjoy North America’s largest literary conference? Then be sure to check out this list of translation-related events! Take a peek and get planning today.

And don’t miss your chance to win a bundle of books at AWP19 — Bookfair Bingo is back! Find out more here.

Are we missing any panels? Email us at and let us know.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

9:00 am to 10:15 am

C124, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 R124. Getting Beyond 3%: International Literature and US Literary Culture. (Chad Post (Open Letter Books),  Elisabeth Jaquette (ALTA), Milena Deleva (Elizabeth Kostova Foundation), Rachael Small (Europa Editions), Will Evans (Deep Vellum)) It’s now been more than ten years since the NEA announced that only 3% of books published annually in the US are translations, with literary work accounting for less than 1%. This panel will address ways publishers and literary organizations have attempted to tackle these statistics, as well as discuss the importance, politics, and methods of bringing diversity to reading markets across the US, creating a literary culture that embraces international voices to help expand narrowing world views.

D135, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 R129. Translators Are the Unacknowledged Ambassadors of the World. (Zack Rogow, Niloufar Talebi, Suzanne Jill Levine, Allen Hibbard) Percy Shelley said, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Similarly, translators are the unacknowledged ambassadors of the world. In what sense is a translator an ambassador for a people, language, and culture to another? How does the responsibility of representing the insights of one society to another influence the translator’s choice of projects, and the way s/he works? Translators from Arabic, Persian, Spanish, and French discuss these topics.

F152, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 R141. Twenty-five Years of Two Lines. (Olivia Sears, Forrest Gander, Cynthia Hogue, Sidney Wade, Edward Gauvin) For twenty-five years, Two Lines has been publishing world literature in translation, championing underrepresented regions and languages, and celebrating the work of literary translators. Founded in response to the lack of visibility for translators, Two Lines has published the best names in translation from its first issue on. Join past contributors and editors for a reading and discussion of the evolution of translation in the last two decades and of where this field is headed.

10:30 am to 11:45 am

C123, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 R156. Translation as the Art of Reincarnation: World Perspectives on Creative Process. (Helene Cardona, Sidney Wade, Christopher Merrill, Willis Barnstone, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs) How do you find and give a new voice to a poem in a different language, infusing other cultures into your own experience? Working with Hebrew, Greek, French, Korean, Slovenian, Spanish, and Turkish, this panel’s poets, translators, and scholars discuss their roles as intermediaries, technicians, and alchemists dancing between languages to create inspired texts spanning cultural differences, geographic distances, and time.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

B117-119, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 R190. When Your Characters Just Stand There Smoking & Staring: Translation & Invention, Sponsored by ALTA. (Russell Valentino, Curtis Bauer, Gregory Pardlo) Novelist and translator Maureen Freely once noted that when translating an Orhan Pamuk novel set in Istanbul, the characters in her own Istanbul-set novel just stood there smoking, looking at her, while his had plenty to say. In translating his characters’ words, she found her own. This panel explores translation as prompt and liberation for when one’s own words refuse to come. Each panelist provides a reflection and offers examples of how translating has enabled and inspired new work.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

A103-104, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 R215. Where Literary and Professional Translation Meet. (Elizabeth Lowe, Jenny McPhee, Joyce Tolliver, Aron Aji, Becka McKay) Panelists will discuss the merits of including literary translation in the graduate professional translation curriculum. Literary translators who teach in these programs find that their knowledge and skills transfer readily to professional translation. These include writing practice, close reading of master translators’ works, and studying the models offered by award-winning translations. Panelists will focus on specific examples from their respective teaching and translation practices.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

A105, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 R287. Tribute to the Life and Work of Poet Charles Simic on His 80th Birthday. (Biljana Obradovic, Danuta Hinc, Bruce Weigl, John Gery) Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1938, Charles Simic, who turned 80 in 2018, came to the US as a teenager barely speaking English, ended up being appointed Fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, winning a Pulitzer Prize among many awards, publishing over fifty books, including his own poetry, memoirs, criticism, as well as translations of Yugoslavian poets, and teaching English and Creative Writing at the University of New Hampshire for over thirty years.

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

McMenamins Chapel Pub, 430 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217. Translator Happy Hour. Cost: Free. Event URL: website
Two local translators’ organizations, NOTIS and OSTI, invite all translators to join us for happy hour in a private room at McMenamins Chapel Pub. We’re proud to have this conference come to the Pacific Northwest and we can’t wait to meet you!
Contact: Shelley Fairweather-Vega
Organization: Northwest Literary Translators & OSTI
Organization URL: website

Friday, March 29, 2019

9:00 am to 10:15 am

A103-104, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F112. Creating Space for Translation: Writers Workshops, MFAs, and the Academy. (Katherine M. Hedeen, Aron Aji, Suzanne Jill Levine, Pedro Serrano, Elizabeth Lowe) This panel gathers together specialists in establishing literary translation writers workshops, MFA programs, and academic tracks. We will address both theoretical and practical issues, including distinguishing translation as a literary art and ensuring its visibility, how to foster translators/authors/co-creators, and what emerging translators need to learn to build a portfolio of literary translations to launch their careers.

A105, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F113. She-Radical: Emotional Ally vs. Emotional Labor. (Carolina De Robertis, Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, Carson Beker, Ashley Davis, Nancy Au) QTPOC often shoulder the bulk of emotional labor in classrooms, boardrooms, in academic and other professional settings. How can QTPOC writers, artists, and educators thrive in their professional worlds, in ways that acknowledge the struggles of their colleagues and mentees, while simultaneously asserting and prioritizing one’s own personal desires vital to nurturing one’s craft? How can speculative fiction, poetry, and translation inform the roles of mentors in interdisciplinary settings?

10:30 am to 11:45 am

E146, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F167. Local Learning for Literary Translation: Panel Discussion, Sponsored by ALTA. (Shelley Fairweather-Vega, Katie King, Tim Gregory, Mia Spangenberg) The Northwest Literary Translators is a group of emerging and established translators who meet monthly in Seattle. A panel of core members discuss our model for peer-to-peer support and grassroots education (workshops, guest speakers, readings, and translation slams), events which address both the business and craft of translation. In a field where formal training is rare, expensive, and typically geographically concentrated, our group provides resources for translators of all backgrounds.

F150, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F170. Don’t You Say a Word: Censorship and Its Silencing. (Niloufar Talebi, Carolyn Forché, Chris Abani, Glen Retief, Raad Rahman) Censorship today is not exclusive to authoritarian countries, but is rather a global phenomenon. In this panel we examine the history and variety of censorship, the trauma of silencing on writers, translators, readers, and societies. We shed light on how censorship contributes to the invisibility of literary and creative voices of certain cultures from the international stage, and we explore various modes of resistance toward freedom of expression and more equitable exchange of cultures.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

E143-144, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F200. Writers as Translators, Translators as Writers. (Goeffrey Brock, Brooks Haxton, Mónica de la Torre, Bill Johnston, Jennifer Grotz) Readers, writers, and translators alike discover at some point that mastery of the source language alone can’t guarantee the success of a translation: A literary translation succeeds to the extent that it’s a compelling work of art in its target language. In this panel covering a variety of languages, traditions, and time periods, five esteemed faculty of the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference—successful writers and translators themselves—each examine poets or writers whose translation activity spurred innovation in their creative work or vice versa.

F149, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F204. Diana’s Diaspora: Diana Der-Hovanessian’s Influence on Armenian American Writers. (Arminé Iknadossian, Nancy Agabian, Lory Bedikian, Shahé Mankerian, Lola Koundakjian) Diana Der-Hovanessian, a renowned poet, translator, mentor, and cultural leader, opened a door for Armenian Americans to read and write themselves into being. Armenian American writers read and discuss her work, share insights about her character through anecdote and memory, and analyze her impact on American poetry, translation, and Armenian culture. A year after her death, they look at her legacy to inspire the future of Armenian poetry, including her emphasis on poetry by and for women.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

A107-109, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F219. MANOA and The Contemporary Pacific: A Thirty-year Celebration. (Noah Perales-Estoesta, Alexander Mawyer, Frank Stewart, Pat Matsueda, Robert Shapard) MANOA and The Contemporary Pacific have published literature from Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas since 1989. They have influenced Americans’ awareness of international writing and promoted minority languages and communities of the Pacific hemisphere. Panelists will talk about introducing readers to thousands of authors and translators, representing familiar and unfamiliar Pacific and Asian languages, including Tibetan, Nepali, Nuosu, Native Hawaiian, Tahitian, Khmer, and Uchinaaguchi.

E147-148, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F239. Who Has the Rights? The How, Why, and Whom of Translation, Sponsored by ALTA. (Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Rajiv Mohabir, Sawako Nakayasu, E. J. Koh) Translation can be a confusing field to navigate, especially for new translators. This panel addresses ethical and practical aspects of translation, including why translation matters, who has the right to translate whom, how texts are chosen and permissions are obtained, what grants and fellowships are available, and what specific issues can arise from translating non-Romanized texts into English. Examples are drawn from the panelists’ work with Hindi, Japanese, and Korean.

Portland Ballroom 255, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2 F249. Act of Gratitude: Poetry International’s 20th Anniversary Celebratory Reading. (Sherwin Bitsui, Catherine Barnett, Jennifer Minniti- Shippey) This event celebrates twenty years of Poetry International’s commitment to increasing the presence of global literature translated into English, and to placing that work in conversation with exciting voices in English-language literature. Come hear acclaimed poets, translators, and members of our editorial staff read and discuss contemporary literature.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

B113, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F259. Translating from Non-European and Overlooked Languages. (Frank Stewart, Alexander Mawyer, Sharon May, Tony Barnstone) World literature can’t be understood without translations from other than the “major” languages and countries. But translating from outside the mainstream poses challenges: applying Western valuation to non-Western work; imposing context on unfamiliar literary and cultural ideas. The dearth of American and global markets for such translations adds further challenges. Translators of Asia-Pacific languages join with editors of international journals to talk about publishing translations.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

A107-109, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F292. Lost and Found: Strategies for Reviving Out-of-Print or Overlooked Books. (Stephanie Lenox, Carl Adamshick, Natalie Garyet, Matthew Hodgson) Franklin D. Roosevelt once wrote, “People die, but books never die.” As lovers of literature, we want this to be true. What happens, though, when a book falls out of print or copyright expires? This panel explores ways to give new life to overlooked books by examining the work of two Oregon-based presses. Discussion will include short readings from a little-known translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies and a reprint of Nella Larsen’s Passing, a rediscovered classic of the Harlem Renaissance.

B116, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 F297. Poet vs. Community vs. History. (Yanyi, Emily Yoon, EJ Koh, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Monica Sok) For Asian American poets, what is the relationship between bearing witness to history and giving voice to marginalized communities? Four writers talk about how their work as poets, editors, translators, and scholars allows them to uncover intimacies among seemingly disparate colonial histories and contextualize narratives of intergenerational trauma. They draw on multidisciplinary practices to explore how the individual pursuits of poets can build empathy and community.

5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Holocene Portland, 1001 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214. S**tholes of the World Unite: A Poetry Reading in Translation. Cost: Free. Event URL: website
Featuring an extensive list of some of our most recognized translator-poets reading poetry in English translation from s**thole countries, those named and unnamed. In solidarity and as a form of resistance to the imperialist, racist, and sexist ideologies which divide us, and in recognition of how English language translation plays a prominent role in making works of poetry available and creates international networks for political and social solidarity and change.
Contact: Katherine Hedeen and Jake Levine

7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Irving Street Studio, 907 NW Irving St., Portland, OR 97209. The Future of Translation Party / Two Lines, The Literary Review, & Arkansas International. Cost: Free. Event URL: website.
Tonight belongs to translation! Join us for a party to celebrate twenty-five years of Two Lines Journal with performances by Gregory Pardlo, Mónica de la Torre, Jennifer Grotz, Curtis Bauer, Will Schutt, Aaron Coleman, and many others. Join Two LinesThe Literary Review, and Arkansas International for an evening of mingling, reading, and thoroughly enjoying literary translation. Stop by booth 6048 for an updated list of readers and timings of the program, or visit our website.
Contact: Two Lines Press
Organization: Two Lines Press
Organization URL: website

Saturday, March 30, 2019

9:00 am to 10:15 am

D135, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 S127. Exophonic Writing in America. (Piotr Florczyk, Mónica de la Torre, Monika Zobel, Gazmend Kapllani, Piotr Gwiazda) This panel focuses on sharing writing and professional practices of writers who write in an acquired language. It addresses issues of acceptance and rejection by the literary community, the process of choosing a language to express particular narratives, feelings, or ideas, the ways in which self-translation becomes creatively generative, and strategies for finding publishers. Panelists discuss their writing processes in various languages and welcome questions from the audience.

F149, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 S136. Embodying Writing / Performing Translation, Sponsored by ALTA. (Gabrielle Civil, Madhu Kaza, Sawako Nakayasu, Urayoan Noel, John Pluecker) Beyond merely transferring text from one language to another, translation invites a recognition and practice of embodiment. This can connect to performance in compelling ways. Here, diaspora translators discuss performing translation, embodying writing (in and as translation), and translating performance. Engaging Haiti, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, they reckon with race, gender, sexuality, nationality, power, and language justice—in representation and lived experience.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

F149, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 S202. Politics and Pragmatics of Translating Asian Languages. (Charles Waugh, Bonnie Chau, Michelle Crowson, Anothai Kaewkaen) Four accomplished translators, working in Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese, discuss the political and pragmatic difficulties posed by translating Asian languages. Panelists will address challenges arising from formal aspects of the languages, from the political dimensions and consequences of the work, and from working in a field underrepresented in US publishing, academic programs, and at AWP. Panelists will also present resources for aspiring translators and propose an Asian languages translators’ network.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

B115, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 S217. Fifty Years of FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. (David Walker, David Young, Stuart Friebert, Martha Collins, Kazim Ali) Since 1969, FIELD Magazine has been known as one of the country’s leading journals of contemporary poetry and poetics. In 2019, FIELD will publish its 100th and final issue. This panel, featuring two founding editors and three later additions, will discuss the magazine’s history and values, including its annual symposium of essays on the work of a major poet, its commitment to translation, and its openness to a wide variety of voices, both established and emerging.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

C125-126, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 S256. Property of the Imagination: Caribbean Literature in Translation, Sponsored by ALTA. (Michael Holtmann, Aaron Coleman, Carina del Valle Schorske, Kristin Dykstra, Linda Coverdale) Linguistically and culturally diverse, Caribbean literatures have developed out of shared but fragmented histories of colonialism, slavery, migration, and syncreticism. While these countries are geographically close to the US, they remain underrepresented in international literature. Four translators of writers from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Martinique, and Haiti share their translations and speak about what has drawn them into the luminescent world of Caribbean writing.

E143-144, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 S264. How Do We Translate a Sense of Place Across Places? (Wendy Call, Marco Antonio Huerta, Cecilia Martinez Gil, Samina Najmi, Alison Mandaville) Words carry the imprint of the natural and built environments that inspired them: place names, landforms, plants, animals, foods, climate, and weather. As writers and translators move writing across languages, geographies, and borders, how do our word choices impact the resulting work’s sense of place? Five translator-writers address this question, with examples from poetry and prose rooted in the contemporary and historical landscapes of Azerbaijan, Mexico, Pakistan, and Uruguay.

4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Passages Bookshop, 1223 NE MLK, Portland OR 97232. Portuguese Translation Reading. Featuring Christopher Daniels, Hilary Kaplan, and Sean Nagus at Passages Bookshop.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

D137-138, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 S295. Translating Others, Translating Ourselves: Creative Writers as Translators. (Sharon Dolin, Forrest Gander, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Don Mee Choi, Malena Mörling) Poets and fiction writers who translate are arguably the most creative of translators and the least self-effacing. Translation is more of a collaboration and re-creation in another tongue, according to Mark Polizzotti in his new book Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto. Five writers who are translators explore how creative the act of translation is, and also whether the work they translate has affected their own creative practice.

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