Meet the Mentors of the 2022 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program

L to R: Kareem James Abu-Zeid; Khairani Barokka (credit: Derrick Kakembo); David Boyd; Steve Bradbury; Katrina Dodson; Linda Gaboriau; Janet Hong (credit: Laura Pak); Bill Johnston; Kira Josefsson; Jack Jung; Mara Faye Lethem; Julia Sanches; Marian Schwartz

Image Description: A rectangular image with a mint-and-white chevron background, with the ALTA logo and words in white at the top, “Meet the 2022 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program Mentors!” accompanied by 13 individual pictures of people with various backgrounds; at the bottom in white is written, “Submit your applications at by November 30!” Individual image descriptions follow below.

We are excited to introduce the 2022 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 2022 mentorship program cycle are open on our Submittable page until 11:59pm PT on November 30.

This year, ALTA is delighted to offer 13 mentorships:

  • Catalan, with mentor Mara Faye Lethem 
  • Japanese, with mentor David Boyd 
  • Korean poetry, with mentor Jack Jung 
  • Korean prose, with mentor Janet Hong 
  • Non-language-specific BIPOC mentorship, with mentor Katrina Dodson (open to translators who identify as Black, Indigenous and/or a Person of Color)
  • Non-language-specific, non-genre-specific, with mentor Kareem James Abu-Zeid 
  • Polish, with mentor Bill Johnston 
  • Prose from Québec, with mentor Linda Gaboriau 
  • Russian prose, with mentor Marian Schwartz 
  • Singaporean literature (translated from Malay, Mandarin Chinese, or Tamil), with mentor Khairani Barokka 
  • Singaporean literature (translated from Malay, Mandarin Chinese, or Tamil), with mentor Julia Sanches (open to Singaporean nationals) 
  • Swedish, with mentor Kira Josefsson 
  • Literature from Taiwan, with mentor Steve Bradbury 

Learn more about the mentors below! 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, PhD, is an award-winning translator of poets and novelists from across the Arab world who translates from Arabic, French, and German. His work has earned him an NEA translation grant, PEN Center USA’s Translation Award, Poetry magazine’s translation prize, residencies from the Lannan Foundation and the Banff Centre, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany, and a CASA Fellowship in Egypt, among other honors. He is also the author of The Poetics of Adonis and Yves Bonnefoy: Poetry as Spiritual Practice (Lockwood Press, 2021). The online hub for his work is

Image description: Kareem, a brown-skinned man with curly black hair that goes down to his shoulders, is standing in front of a grey backdrop. Kareem is smiling at the camera, and is wearing a white button-down shirt with the top button undone and a black blazer.

Khairani Barokka is a Minang-Javanese writer and artist in London, with over two decades’ experience translating professionally from Indonesian into English. Okka’s work has been presented in 16 countries, she was a judge for the National Centre for Writing’s Visible Communities Translator Residency, and is a returning judge for the Stephen Spender Trust Prize for Poetry in Translation. She was Modern Poetry in Translation‘s Inaugural Poet-in-Residence, and is currently Research Fellow at University of the Arts London, UK Associate Artist at Delfina Foundation, and Associate Artist at the UK’s National Centre for Writing. Okka’s latest book (with a bilingual title) is Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches).

Image description: Black and white photo of an Indonesian woman with short hair, earrings, and a patterned dress, lying down on her front, pen in hand, ready to write. Pic credit: Derrick Kakembo.

David Boyd is Assistant Professor of Japanese at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has translated fiction by Hiroko Oyamada and Mieko Kawakami, among others. His translation of Hideo Furukawa’s Slow Boat won the 2017/2018 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature.

Steve Bradbury is an artist and writer who taught Modernist literature in Taiwan for many years and translates the work of contemporary Chinese-language poets. His most recent book-length translation, Amang’s Raised by Wolves: poems and conversations (Deep Vellum/Phoneme Media), won the 2021 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. This is his second stint as a mentor for the ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program.

Katrina Dodson is the translator of The Complete Stories, by Clarice Lispector, winner of the PEN Translation Prize and other awards. She is currently adapting her Lispector translation journal into a book and translating the 1928 Brazilian modernist classic Macunaíma: The Hero With No Character by Mário de Andrade (New Directions, forthcoming 2022). Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The Believer, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. Dodson holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley and teaches translation at Columbia University.

Image description: Katrina, a mixed-race Vietnamese American woman with black hair in a long bob with bangs, smiles at the camera against a background of evergreen foliage in soft focus. Her dark V-neckline top has a geometric pattern of blue-green curved lines.

Linda Gaboriau is a literary translator and dramaturg based in Montreal. Her translations from the French of fiction and essays by Québec authors have been shortlisted for Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award. She has specialized in translating drama and has translated more than 120 plays, including the works of some of Québec’s most prominent playwrights. Her translations have been published and widely produced across Canada and abroad. Her work has garnered many awards including the Governor General’s Award for Translation in 1996, 2012 and again in 2019. For several years, she was an associate director of the Banff playRites Colony (in charge of translation projects) and was the founding director (2002-2007) of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre.

Janet Hong is a writer and translator based in Vancouver, Canada. She received the 2018 TA First Translation Prize and the 2018 LTI Korea Translation Award for her translation of Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale, which was also a finalist for the 2018 PEN Translation Prize and the 2018 National Translation Award. Her translation of Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s Grass won the 2020 Harvey Award for Best International Book and the 2020 Krause Essay Prize. Her recent translations include Ha Seong-nan’s Bluebeard’s First Wife, Yeon-sik Hong’s Umma’s Table, and Ancco’s Nineteen.

Bill Johnston’s awards include the 2019 National Translation Award in Poetry for Adam Mickiewicz’s verse narrative Pan Tadeusz (Archipelago Books), a translation supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship; the 2017 Found in Translation Award for Tomasz Różycki’s mock epic poem Twelve Stations (Zephyr Press); the 2014 Transatlantyk Prize; and the 2012 PEN Translation Prize and Best Translated Book Award, both for Wiesław Myśliwski’s novel Stone Upon Stone (Archipelago Books). He has twice been on the faculty at the Bread Loaf Translators Conference, and has previously served five times as mentor for the ALTA mentorships. He teaches literary translation at Indiana University.

Kira Josefsson is a writer, editor, and literary translator working between English and Swedish. The recipient of grants from the PEN/Heim Translation Fund, the Katharine Bakeless Nason Endowment, the Swedish Arts Council, and others, her work can be read in places like Granta, Svenska Dagbladet, The Nation, Göteborgs-Posten, and Triple Canopy. Recent book-length translations and collaborations include Johanna Hedman’s The Trio, out 2022 with Hamish Hamilton, and editing Fia Backström’s translation of Åke Hodell’s The Marathon Poet (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2020). Based in Queens, New York, she serves on the editorial board of Glänta, a Swedish journal of arts and politics.

Image description: Kira, a white woman with brown hair slicked back into a ponytail, is standing on an elevated New York subway platform. She’s wearing an all-black outfit with a leather jacket and gold hoop earrings. The sun has started to set behind a brick building and the clouds in the sky.

Jack Jung is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. His translations of Korean poet Yi Sang’s poetry and prose are published in Yi Sang: Selected Works by Wave Books. He is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Davidson College. 

Mara Faye Lethem’s work as a translator has been recognized with two English PEN Awards, a National Translation Award nomination, a Warwick Prize for Women in Translation nomination, three Dublin Literary Award nominations, and a residency at Art Omi’s Translation Lab. Her recent translations include novels by Patricio Pron, Max Besora, Javier Calvo, Marta Orriols, Toni Sala, and Irene Solà. She is currently translating the complete short stories of Pere Calders.

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Julia Sanches is the author of more than a dozen translations from Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan into English. Her translations and writing have appeared in Granta, LitHub, The Paris Review Daily, and The Common, among others. She has received support for her work from the PEN Heim, PEN Translates, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Julia sits on the Council of the Authors Guild, where she advocates for fairer terms for literary translators.

Image descrption: This black-and-white photograph shows a light-skinned woman with shoulder-length hair, tortoise-shell glasses, and bronze cicada earrings. She is wearing a dark-colored shirt and a bag hanging off her shoulder. Her eyes are trained directly at the camera as the sun casts the shadow of her glasses across her cheeks and of her chin across her neck.

Marian Schwartz

Marian Schwartz translates Russian classic and contemporary fiction and nonfiction. 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, and is a past president of ALTA. Her latest translations are Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, book 3 and Nina Berberova’s first novel, The Last and the First.

Image description: Marian, an older white woman with short silver hair, faces backward in a white chair, her hands crossed at the wrist. She wears a black suit jacket over a gray top and a silver necklace and earrings, and her light smile attempts to take the intimidation out of Russian literature.

These mentorships are offered by ALTA in partnership with Amazon Crossing, anonymous individual donors, the Institut Ramon Llull, the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, the National Arts Council Singapore, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, the Russian Federation Institute for Literary Translation, the Swedish Arts CouncilTaiwan’s Ministry of Culture and Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles (TECO-LA), the Québec Government Office in New York, and the Yanai Initiative.

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

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