Translation-Related Events at AWP20 [Updated]


L to R: ALTA Programming Manager Kelsi Vanada, ALTA President Ellen Elias-Bursac, and ALTA Executive Director Elisabeth Jaquette at AWP19

ALTA has withdrawn its organizational presence from AWP20. Please see here for a full update.


Planning to come to San Antonio, TX from March 4–7 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 you’ll find there! ALTA-sponsored events are in blue.

Come by booth 1444 to say hello to ALTA! And if you want to win a bundle of books in translation, play Bookfair Bingo with us!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

(Offsite) 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Waxwing, Newfound, & Anomaly Offsite Reading

1015 Navarro St, San Antonio, TX 78205. Cost: Free

We’re at it again. Kick off the conference with a mixed-genre (poetry, prose, translation) reading at the cocktail bar of the Hotel Havana. Free admission plus happy hour food options. Directions: Enter the lobby elevator and hit B, or follow the ivy walls of the breezeway down the stairs to the left. Please invite & share! Makalani Bandele, Dorothy Chan, Caitlin Cowan, Carolina Ebeid, Rodney Gomez, Berry Grass, Shilpa Kamat, William Lychack, and Rachel Franklin Wood.

Contact: Levis Keltner

Organization: Newfound

Organization URL:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

9:00 am to 10:15 am

R124. Photography and Poetry | Dynamics of Word and Image

(Anna Deeny Morales, Forrest Gander, Valerie Mejer, Daniel Borris)

Room 207, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This panel unites artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and disciplines, including photography, poetry, painting, translation, and the performing arts. Each participant has collaborated in one way or another to push the boundaries of those disciplines by juxtaposing photographic image and poetic text. In this panel, we will focus on this specific dynamic between photography and poetry, addressing issues such as the processes involved in their making, juxtaposition, and interpretation.


R126. Lit & Luz: MAKE-ing Interdisciplinary Partnerships On and Off the Page

(Kathleen Rooney, Jessica Anne, Kamilah Foreman, Sarah Dodson, Miguel Jimenez)

Room 210A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

MAKE Literary Productions promotes writing, translation, and visual art through an annual print publication and multimedia events, including the yearly Lit & Luz Festival, a collaboration between Mexican and American artists held in both Chicago and Mexico City. Editors discuss concrete methods for creating and sharing innovative, inclusive, and heterogeneous work in print and in person. Strategies for cultivating diverse audiences and community engagement will be put forth.


R128. Translating the Untranslatable: A Reading of International Experimental Poetry

(Larissa Shmailo, Marc Vincenz, Hélène Cardona, Michelle Gil-Montero, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs)

Room 211, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

From the manifestos of Breton to the wordplay of Stein to the fantastical lines of Borges, avant garde movements have always driven poetry into revolutionary directions. This panel offers a panoramic view of international experimental poetries by noted world translators from French, German, Korean, Russian, and Spanish (Latin American) poets of the 20th and 21st centuries. Intercultural and intersectional issues in translation will be discussed as panelists read from a range of avant poetries.


10:35 am to 11:50 am

R166. Making Place in Hybrid Tongues

(Nadia Misir, Minerva Laveaga Luna, Sehba Sarwar, Sorayya Khan, Torsa Ghosal)

Room 216A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This panel highlights the work of writers who explore remembered and imagined attachments with place. Featuring five women of color whose living and writing transcend national borders and literary genres, the panel asks whether the places we navigate demand their own hybrid literary forms. Writers who wear multiple tags—novelist, memoirist, poet, translator, critic—read from new work. These works embody aesthetic and political choices involved in representing locales across genres.


12:10 pm to 1:25 pm

R199. Centering Margins: Literary Translation as Social Activism, Sponsored by ALTA

(Somrita Ganguly, Larissa Kyzer, Elina Alter, Lawrence Schimel)

Room 216A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This panel critically examines how literary translation is/can be a form of social activism by echoing voices from the margins. By choosing to translate feminist, Dalit, disability and/or queer writings from around the world, or by translating the literatures of “banned” communities, one can create a common ground to share diverse experiences and demonstrate how people’s struggles are not isolated or insular.


1:45 pm to 3:00 pm

R216. Somos Writers: A Multigenre, Bilingual Reading from the “Other” Texas

(Tim Z. Hernandez, Rosa Alcalá, Andrea Cote Botero, Daniel Chacón)

Room 007A, Henry B. González Convention Center, River Level

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is located far west of the Texas people know best, on the borders of Ciudad Juárez, El Paso, and rural New Mexico. We have the only bilingual MFA in creative writing and were the first university in the Americas to offer an MFA in Spanish. We live between two cities divided by a wall. We write on that wall. MFA faculty Rosa Alcalá, Andrea Cote Botero, Daniel Chacón, and Tim Z. Hernandez will share poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation in this multigenre, bilingual reading.


R226. El Amor Sobre Ruedas: The Confessions of a Lover and Father in a Wheelchair

(Ekiwah Adler Belendez, Kenia Cano, Gregory Josselyn, Beth Jorgensen)

Room 210B, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

A Mexican American poet, father, and lover gives an intimate reading. Openly addressing in his poems and conversation with the audience the joys and struggles of sex, the constant search and encounter with love, fatherhood, and life in a wheelchair. El Amor sobre ruedas was written in English but found a home in Spanish first. His translator will discuss the challenges of rendering the work in Spanish and how audiences in Mexico and the United States receive the poems differently.


3:20 pm to 4:35 pm

R270. Writing Across Multilingual Networks, Sponsored by ALTA

(Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Orchid Tierney, Gabrielle Civil, Sawako Nakayasu, Raquel Salas Rivera)

Room 216A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This panel focuses on multilingual, multimodal literary networks. It addresses the terrain of translation, transcreation, and writing across multiple languages, and examines the way that communities have written and are writing through and against local, national, global, and language networks. What future citizenship(s) do multilingual literatures enable? Panelists will discuss their own writing, perform excerpts, and/or discuss creators, networks, and systems troubling these intersections.


R271. Milkweed Editions’ 40th Anniversary Reading: Transformation for the Future

(Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Elizabeth Rush, Michael Bazzett, Su Hwang, Rick Barot)

Room 217A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

In celebration of Milkweed Editions’ 40th anniversary, these award-winning and debut authors read from new work and translations to showcase not just where Milkweed has been, but where the press is going. Among them are writers giving voice to erased histories, landscapes, identities, cultures, and creatures. In their work, the lyric and transformative meet at the intersections of trauma, injustice, sacrifice, beauty, curiosity, and grace.


(Offsite) 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Translator Meetup: Hosted by ALTA

Guadalajara Grill, 301 S Alamo St, La Villita Historic Arts Village, San Antonio, TX 78205. Cost: Free

Join your fellow literary translators and translation aficionados for a drink or snack following a day of conference sessions! We’ll gather between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m, open house-style, at the Guadalajara Grill, across the street from the Convention Center. Whether you’re a friend of translation, you’ve been translating for years, or are just looking to get started, we’d love to see you there!

Contact: Kelsi Vanada

Organization: The American Literary Translators Association

Organization URL:


(Offsite) 6:30pm to 9:30pm

Shitholes of the World, Unite 2.0

The Little Carver Theater, 226 N Hackberry, San Antonio, TX 78202. Cost: Free

Come to the second edition of this poetry reading in translation, featuring over 40 of our best poetry translators reading their work!

Contact: Katherine M. Hedeen / Steve Halle

Organization: Action Books and Coimpress

Organization URL:

Friday, March 6, 2020

9:00 am to 10:15 am

F135. Expanded Translations: The Languages of the Hyphen

(Maria Jose Delgadillo, Criseida Santos Guevara, Carolina Dávila, Saúl Hernández Vargas, Giancarlo Huapaya)

Room 216A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Borders, language, territories, bodies… What is it that we share when we write, rewrite, and translate? Pushing the limits of what we understand translation, by placing our embodied thinking in the process, we aim to reconfigure the too well-known concepts of belonging and ownership. Through the visualization and incorporation of our backgrounds and knowledges in theoretical and literary practices, and within different genres, we push for exercises in translation to create new spaces to speak.


F143. The Emotional Currency of International Writing Programs: Sozopol Seminar’s Case

(Garth Greenwell, Kelly Luce, Ben Bush, Eireene Nealand, Christopher Castellani)

Room 304, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level

Each year, both distinguished and aspiring authors from the US gather with Bulgarian writers on the Black Sea Coast for the Sozopol Fiction Seminars of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation. The Seminars have been life-changing for many, and their cultural exchange spurs spillovers such as translation activism and a rise in Anglophone novels set in the Balkans. Sozopol alumni read from work set in the region and discuss how interaction with another culture impacts American and global identities.


10:35 am to 11:50 am

F176. Seeking the Ex-Centric: A Conversation with Editors and Translators

(Katherine Hedeen, Johannes Goransson, Jeannine Marie Pitas, Michelle Gil-Montero, Jesse Lee Kercheval)

Room 305, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level

This panel gathers translators and editors to discuss the crucial yet overlooked curatorial aspect of translation. How to resist the forces of (cultural) imperialism? With little time and resources, what criteria for selection should we follow? How to address persistent inequities? Panelists showcase recent projects from various cultural, aesthetic, and geographical peripheries and discuss the complex process of encountering, translating, and building context for poets in English translation.


12:10 pm to 1:25 pm

F191. Translation in Context

(Er Zhang, Joseph Donahue, Andrea Lingenfelter, Steven Bradbury, Liza H. Katz)

Room 210A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Historical events, gender roles, aesthetic preferences, familial constitutions, religion, social organization, and political ideology often present themselves in poetry and other literary work without much overt context. This panel of literary translators will discuss their challenges in conveying such contexts, especially those involving cultural knowledge and values. How does a translator communicate realities that are clear in the original language but opaque in the target language?


1:45 pm to 3:00 pm

F230. “I Leave You This Poem”: A Tribute to Chana Bloch

(Andrea Hollander, Rachel Mennies, Danusha Lameris, James Crews)

Room 213, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Five poets will honor the work and life of the noted poet and translator Chana Bloch who passed away in May of 2017. The panelists will discuss how Chana’s poems and translations influenced and inspired their work, especially in regards to the exploration of her Jewish faith and her desire to examine what she called “the inner life.” Offering anecdotes, memories, appreciations, and finishing with a reading of one of her poems, each panelist will honor Chana as a mentor, poet, friend, and guide.


F246. Original Translations, Sponsored by ALTA

(Rebecca Kosick, Janet Hendrickson, Adrienne Rose, Jan Steyn, Giovanni Singleton)

Room 305, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level

Translators increasingly share recognition with authors as co-creative partners; less discussed are works of “experimental” translation where the translator’s role is maximally visible. Considering such practices, we ask: When do experimental translations become original works? How do they impact translation pedagogy? What happens when creative translators eclipse their authors? Or when translators become “brands” in their own right?


F246A. “Geometry of Air”: The Visionary Poetry of Ulalume González de León

(Terry Ehret, Nancy J Morales, John Johnson, Mary Crow, Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal)

The Michener Center for Writers Stage, Exhibit Halls 3-4, Henry B. González Convention Center

Ulalume González de León (1928-2009) was born in Uruguay and became a Mexican citizen in 1948. Her friend and colleague Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz called González de León “the best Mexicana poet since Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.” Translators and scholars will read and discuss the work of this innovative and visionary poet from the collection Plagios/Plagiarisms, just released from Sixteen Rivers Press.


3:20 pm to 4:35 pm

F257. Why International Literature Now? Decolonizing the US Literary Landscape

(Stacy Mattingly, Shuchi Saraswat, Karen Phillips, Will Evans, Sawako Nakayasu)

Room 206A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Literature in English translation may be experiencing a renaissance but getting works in translation into the hands of American readers remains a challenge. In what ways can we engage new readers, promote translation, and incorporate international literature into curricula? An editor, publisher, translator, and reading series founder discuss the opportunities and challenges for international writers, publishing outlets, and booksellers and consider why reading literature across borders matters.


(Offsite) 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Latin American Poetry in Translation Reading: Veliz Books, Coimpress, and Eulalia Books

Menger Hotel, Cavalier Room, 204 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205. Cost: Free

Join Veliz Books, Coimpress, and Eulalia Books for a reading of Latin American poetry in translation.

Contact: Laura Cesarco Eglin

Organization: Veliz Books

Organization URL:


(Offsite) 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Kenning Editions, Green Lantern Press, Action Books, Small Press Distribution Reading

Cherrity Bar, 302 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203. Cost: Free

Action Books, Green Lantern Press, Kenning Editions, and Small Press Distribution invite you to an offsite reading to celebrate and launch new and recent titles. Including poets and translators: Fulla Abdul-Jabbar, Mayra A. Rodríguez Castro (reading Audre Lorde), Rachel Galvin, Cathy Park Hong (reading Seungja Choi), Valerie Hsiung, Devin King, Olivia Lott (reading Soleida Ríos), Jesse Seldess, and Candice Wuehle. Come by the Cherrity Bar, 302 Montana St, San Antonio, a two minute walk from the Henry B. González Convention Center. Cherrity Bar’s proceeds go entirely to worthy community non-profits, and they have the best Ramen and craft cocktails in San Antonio. Admission is free, Zine giveaways, also. See us at the Bookfair for flyers with bios of all participants!

Contact: Patrick Durgin

Organization: Kenning Editions

Saturday, March 7, 2020

9:00 am to 10:15 am

S144. Transcreación/Transcreation: Literary Translation and Hemispheric Poetics

(Andrea Cote Botero, Olivia Lott, Rosa Alcalá, Katherine Hedeen)

Room 303, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level

Literary translators have always played crucial roles in facilitating poetic exchange and making possible literary dialogues across spatial, temporal, and linguistic borders. This panel brings together poet-translators of United States and Latin American poetry for a conversation on how our work engages in a hemispheric project. We will discuss the aesthetic, (geo)political, and critical significance of translation as transcreation for inter-American poetries. This panel includes a reading.


10:35 am to 11:50 am

S156. Try This, You Might Like It: A First Taste of Translation, Sponsored by ALTA

(Elisabeth Jaquette, Lisa Lucas, Michael Holtmann, Jamia Wilson, Jeremy Tiang)

Room 206B, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

As seen in the recent increase of translations published in the US—and the growing recognition of such work through awards like the National Book Award in Translated Literature—translation is “having a moment.” But how can we find translations? How do we know if a translation is “good”? And how can we help literature in translation reach more readers? If you’re getting into translation—whether as a reader, writer, editor, or publisher—this panel will offer suggestions about where to start.


12:10 pm to 1:25 pm

S189. Translation as Social Activism

(Cynthia Hogue, Afaa Weaver, Martha Collins, Eman Hassan, Aaron Coleman)

Room 206B, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

This panel focuses on writers who undertake translation to meet the political necessity of feeling for and better understanding others. Spanning generations and ethnicities, panelists will share the process of coming to their work in translation, and consider such questions as, What do translations offer that history does not? How do translations help us to think “with” the people of another country, instead of think “about” them? Each writer will finish by reading a translation or two.


S193. Celebrating Ten Years of Argos Books

(Marina Blitshteyn, Sade LaNay, Luis Othoniel, Noel Black, Bianca Stone)

Room 210B, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Argos Books celebrates ten years of publishing innovative poetry and interdisciplinary work that subverts established conventions of genre, form, function, and audience. This reading features poets and fiction writers who span Argos’ decade of making chapbooks, writing in translation, full-length poetry collections, cross-genre works, and gatherings that bring diverse literary communities together.


1:45 pm to 3:00 pm

S223. Leaving the Movie Theater: Cinema and Literature

(Tisa Bryant, Diana Delgado, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Mimi Wong, Allison N. Conner)

Room 207, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

What makes a text cinematic? Does entanglement promote different ways of seeing? How can writers re-envision cinematic forms to expand their own text-based work? This panel will explore the overlapping spaces between text and moving image in order to uncover what their enmeshment might reveal about language, translation, collaboration, creative practice, genre, and more. Four writers whose work crosses fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will address how cinema is a conduit for their own writing.


S225. Nurturing Danticats and Nabokovs: Multilingual/ESL Students in Creative Writing

(Lane Igoudin, Sharon Coleman, Marlys Cervantes, Daniel Rios-Lopera, Emma Burcart)

Room 210A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Multilingual and ESL students, a sizable segment of college populations, are traditionally underrepresented in writing courses. How do we help them develop their voices? How can we tailor writing pedagogies to their needs? Community college panelists from around the country discuss teaching creative writing and publishing to migrant farmworkers, utilizing poetry translation in multilingual classrooms, refocusing grading policies to foster creativity, and writing contest and journal inclusion.


S244. 25 Years of ALTA Fellows, Sponsored by ALTA

(Kelsi Vanada, Emma Ramadan, Robin Myers, Adam Levy, Hai-Dang Phan)

Room 303, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level

For 25 years, the American Literary Translators Association’s Travel Fellowship program has supported and celebrated the work of emerging translators. Many of our fellows have gone on to shape the field as award-winning literary translators, book publishers, and influential teachers and mentors. Join past fellows for a bilingual reading in Vietnamese, French, Spanish, and Hungarian, as well as a discussion of how to enter the field of literary translation.


3:20 pm to 4:35 pm

S258. Carrying Pollen from Exile to Exile—International Journals and Translation

(Marcela Sulak, Wayne Miller, Sarah Coolidge, Eilis O’Neal, Geoffrey Brock)

Room 210B, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Editors consider the role of translation and the literary communities curated through international journals in an age of massive displacement of populations. For example, translation preserves and shares stories hidden in source languages while renewing the target language. But what do we look for in translation submissions? What do we mean by, and how do we achieve, diversity? How does one evaluate works from various aesthetic traditions with distinct goals and values in an age of crisis?


S271. Global Feminism(s): Fifty Years of Feminist Literature from Around the World

(Jisu Kim, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Jennifer Zoble, Jamia Wilson)

Room 218, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level

Ever since its founding in 1970, the Feminist Press has published world literature across borders. Ranging from novels translated from underrepresented languages to bilingual collections of poetry, these books aim to complicate and expand conversations around equity and social justice for U.S.-based readers. Join authors, translators, and editors for a discussion on their recent work, and where they see the role of literary arts in a global movement for gender justice.


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