Meet the 2021 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program Mentors!

L to R: Kareem James Abu-Zeid; David McKay; Jack Jung; Janet Hong; Jeremy Tiang (credit: Glenda Hydler); Julia Sanches; Mike Fu; Marian Schwartz

We want you to meet the 2021 Emerging Translator Mentorship Program mentors! The ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program is designed to establish and facilitate a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a project selected by the emerging translator. ALTA’s Emerging Translator Mentorship Program was founded by former ALTA board member Allison M. Charette. The applications for the 2021 mentorship program cycle are open on our Submittable page until 11:59pm PT on November 30.

This year, ALTA is excited to offer eight mentorships:

  • Non-language-specific, non-genre-specific, with mentor Kareem James Abu-Zeid 
  • Dutch prose, with mentor David McKay 
  • Korean poetry, with mentor Jack Jung 
  • Korean prose, with mentor Janet Hong
  • Literature from Singapore, with mentor Jeremy Tiang
  • Literature from Singapore (for Singaporean nationals), with mentor Julia Sanches
  • Prose from Taiwan, with mentor Mike Fu 
  • Russian prose, with mentor Marian Schwartz 

Learn more about the mentors below! And view our webpage for more information, our submissions portal to submit, and find answers to common questions at the mentorship FAQ. If you want to see what former mentees have accomplished, follow this link. You can watch a live streamed reading from the 2020 mentees here


Kareem James Abu-Zeid is a freelance translator of poets and novelists from across the Arab world, including Adonis, Najwan Darwish, Rabee Jaber, and Dunya Mikhail. His work has earned him an NEA grant (2018), PEN Center USA’s Translation Prize (2017), Poetry Magazine’s translation prize (2014), the Northern California Book Award in Poetry (2015), and residencies from the Banff Centre and the Lannan Foundation. He has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and has been a Fulbright Research Fellow in Germany, and a CASA Fellow in Egypt. The online hub for his work is www.kareemjamesabuzeid.com.

David McKay is an award-winning translator who lives in The Hague, best known for his translations of novels by the Flemish author Stefan Hertmans. His recent work includes a new joint translation with Ina Rilke of the nineteenth-century Dutch masterpiece Max Havelaar (NYRB Classics, 2019), which was shortlisted for the Oxford Weidenfeld Prize, Cyriel Buysse’s early 20th-century Flemish novella The Aunts (to be published by Snuggly Books, November 2020), and Jan Brokken’s The Just (Scribe, planned for 2021). For more information, see www.openbooktranslation.com.

Jack Jung is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. He was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States. He received his BA in English from Harvard, and an MA in Korean Language and Literature from Seoul National University. His translations of Korean poet Yi Sang’s poetry and prose are published in Yi Sang: Selected Works by Wave Books.

Janet Hong is a writer and translator of literary fiction and graphic novels based in Vancouver, Canada. She received the 2018 TA First Translation Prize for her translation of Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale, which was also a finalist for both the 2018 PEN Translation Prize and the 2018 National Translation Award. Her recent translations include Ha Seong-nan’s Bluebeard’s First Wife, Ancco’s Nineteen, Yeon-Sik Hong’s Umma’s Table, and Keum-Suk Gendry Kim’s Grass.

Jeremy Tiang has translated more than twenty books from Chinese, including novels by Zhang Yueran, Yeng Pway Ngon, Chan Ho-Kei, Li Er, and Yan Ge. He also writes and translates plays, and was named the London Book Fair’s inaugural Translator of the Fair in 2019. His novel State of Emergency won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018. He lives in Queens, NY, where he is a member of the literary translation collective Cedilla & Co.

Julia Sanches is a translator of Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan. She has translated works by Susana Moreira Marques, Eva Baltasar, Daniel Galera, and Geovani Martins, among others. Her shorter translations have appeared in various magazines and periodicals, including Words without Borders, Granta, Tin House, and Guernica. A founding member of Cedilla & Co., Julia sits on the Council of the Authors Guild.

Mike Fu is a Chinese-English translator, editor, and writer. His translation of Stories of the Sahara by the late Taiwanese writer Sanmao was published by Bloomsbury in 2020 and has received critical acclaim from the Paris Review, the Asian Review of Books, the Christian Science Monitor, the TLSAsymptote, and other venues. He is a Cofounder and Editor of The Shanghai Literary Review, as well as an editorial contributor to bilingual art criticism magazine Heichi (Beijing) and diasporic cultural platform Banana (New York). As a university administrator, he has worked in global academic programming at Columbia University and Parsons School of Design.

Marian Schwartz translates Russian fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent publication is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, book 2, named the 2019 Foreword INDIES 2019 Silver Winner for History. Her translation of Nina Berberova’s first novel, The Last and the First, is forthcoming from Pushkin Press. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including two NEA Translation Fellowships, the 2014 Read Russia Prize for Contemporary Literature, and the 2018 Linda Gaboriau Award for Translation awarded by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She is a Past President of ALTA.


These mentorships are offered by ALTA in partnership with Amazon Crossing, the Dutch Foundation for LiteratureLiterature Translation Institute of Korea, the Taipei Cultural Center in New York, and the Russian Federation Institute for Literary Translation.

Submit here by 11:59pm PT on November 30!

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