Translation Events at AWP21

Planning to attend the 2021 Association for Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Virtual Conference, North America’s largest literary conference, on March 3-7, 2021? Then be sure to check out this list of translation-related events, including two sponsored by ALTA! Take a peek and get planning today.

According to AWP, most events are prerecorded and will be premiered at the date & time listed below. After the premiere, the video will be available on-demand for the duration of the conference, including one month’s post-conference access until April 3, 2021. You can see the full AWP21 schedule here.

Are we missing any translation-related events? Email ALTA Program Manager Kelsi Vanada at and let us know.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

11:10 a.m. to 12:10 a.m. Central Time

W115. “I Leave You This Poem”: A Tribute to Chana Bloch.

(Rachel Mennies, Andrea Hollander, Danusha Lameris, Yehoshua November)

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.

12:20 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. Central Time

W129. Translating the Untranslatable: A Reading of International Experimental Poetry.

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

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.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. Central Time

T115. Carrying Pollen from Exile to Exile—International Journals and Translation.

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

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?

4:10 p.m. to 5:10 p.m. Central Time

T135. A Tribute to Alan Shapiro.

(Jonathan Farmer, Angel Nafis, Michael Collier, David Tomas Martinez)

With ethical rigor and unmistakable joy, in poems, essays, memoirs, translations, and fiction, Alan Shapiro has created an enduring chronicle of public and private grief and a vibrant example of the mind’s ability to go on making, seeing, and singing through our human and historical contingency. Twenty-five years after he began teaching at the University of North Carolina, students, colleagues, editors, and friends come together to celebrate a major poet and a mentor to some of the most exciting voices in poetry today.

5:20 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. Central Time

T151. Translation as Conversations.

(Ashwani Kumar, Gábor Lanczkor, Harish Trivedi, Zingonia Zingone, Dr Omid Tofighian)

Is translation a retelling or a faithful version of the original for a newer audience? Is it a shape-shifting conversation across genres and geographies? Or is it a rewriting, recreating of something new and unexpected? Uncover some answers when this globally renowned panel of translators and literary theorists from India, Spain, Hungary, and Iran get together to discuss the same.

Friday, March 5, 2021

12:20 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. Central Time

F125. “My Tongue in the Mouth of My Friend”: Literary Translation in Creative Writing, sponsored by ALTA.

(Piotr Florczyk, Mira Rosenthal, Amaia Gabantxo, Mihaela Moscaliuc, Jeff Leong)

How can a creative writer who doesn’t know a foreign language translate a poem or story? Why spend precious writing time bringing the work of another author into English? What are the benefits of translating to one’s own writing and publishing career? Focusing on successful strategies of teaching literary translation in the creative writing classroom, this panel of translators will answer these questions and discuss teaching methods, key texts, and resources in the field.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

5:10 p.m. to 6:10 p.m. Central Time

S138. Latin American Women Writers in Translation.

(Adriana Pacheco, Robin Myers, Isabel Zapata, Carolina Orloff, Liliana Valenzuela)

Although women writers in Latin America are being translated into English in unprecedented numbers, they still struggle to gain recognition. There is an opening and even a boom of these writers’ work in translation, but there are few platforms in which to present and talk about their work. In this panel, we moderate a conversation with a podcaster, a translator, a writer, and a small UK press editor. If you’ve been wanting to teach and/or read exciting new world authors, this is your chance.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

12:20 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. Central Time

Sn117. The Emotional Currency of International Writing Programs: Sozopol Seminar’s Case.

(Ben Bush, Eireene Nealand, Christopher Castellani, Milena Deleva, Steven Wingate)

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.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Central Time

Sn124. Making Place in Hybrid Tongues.

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

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.

5:20 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. Central Time

Sn138. Raising the Volume: Women in Translation, sponsored by ALTA.

(Aviya Kushner, Nancy Naomi Carlson, Sharon Dolin, Katherine E. Young, Andrea Jurjević)

“Women in Translation” month occurs every August to celebrate the work of women and nonbinary authors, but more must be done to address issues surrounding gender parity. This panel of poet-translators working in Catalan, French, and Russian focuses on the systems of exclusion that permeate the literary culture in this country and the role of translators in amplifying these voices.

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