NTA Winner in Poetry: Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan, translated from the German by Pierre Joris

The National Translation Award (NTA), given by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) at our conference, is the oldest prize for a work of literary translation. This year, the association was pleased to present the award in poetry to translator Pierre Joris for his stunning translation into English from the German.

breathturnBreathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan, translated from the German by Pierre Joris (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014).

“More than a monumental work of scholarship, Pierre Joris’s 40-year project in translation of the later poetry of one of the twentieth century’s most original and “untranslatable” poets is an extraordinary work of poetry in contemporary English. With seeming ease, Joris conveys the complexity and inventiveness of the original German without oversimplifying or domesticating its difficulty, its dark beauty, or the depth of its ideas. His commentary is also of great value in illuminating the background, sources and meanings of Celan’s singular voice,” wrote judges in poetry Lisa Rose Bradford, Stephen Kessler, and Diana Thow.

Pierre Joris is the author of over forty books. As one of the foremost translators of avant-garde poetry into both French and English, he frequently explores the lesser-known works of both major and obscure experimental poets. His translations include Exile is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader (Black Widow Press, 2012); Paul Celan: Selections (University of California Press, 2005); 4X1: Works by Tristan Tzara, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jean-Pierre Duprey, and Habib Tengour (Inconundrum Press, 2003); and Pppppp: Kurt Schwitters Poems, Performance, Pieces, Proses, Plays, Poetics (Temple University Press, 1994). Of his translations of Paul Celan, poet Michael Palmer said: “Joris has dwelled during the better part of his life in Celan’s words and silences…he has journeyed through the work’s intricacies like very few others.”

View the longlist and the shortlist here.

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Lucien Stryk Prize Winner: Something Crosses My Mind by Wang Xiaoni, translated by Eleanor Goodman

The Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize recognizes the importance of Asian translation for international literature and promotes the translation of Asian works into English. Lucien Stryk was an internationally acclaimed translator of Japanese and Chinese Zen poetry, renowned Zen poet himself, and former professor of English at Northern Illinois University. This year, ALTA is excited to announce that the prize has been awarded to Eleanor Goodman for her stunning translation from Chinese into English.

Something Crosses My MindSomething Crosses My Mind by Wang Xiaoni, translated from the Chinese by Eleanor Goodman (Zephyr Press, 2014). 

“‘I rush down the stairs,/ pull open the door,/ dash about in the spring sunlight…’ So begins this exquisite collection of translations by Eleanor Goodman of poems composed over the past several decades by Wang Xiaoni. In what follows we are taken out into the streets and on cross-country trains, into villages, cities and markets; we peep out through the windows of the poet’s home and sense the nostalgia invoked by a simple potato. Here is a poetry of the everyday, written in delicate yet deceptively simple language, and translated beautifully into its like in this first collection of Wang’s work to appear in English. Something Crosses My Mind offers up the refreshing voice of a poet forging her own path, neither shunning the political nor dwelling in the lyrical but gently and resolutely exploring her world in her writing,” write the judges of the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, Lucas Klein, Janet Poole, and Stephen Snyder.

Nine Dragon Island, Eleanor Goodman’s first poetry collection and a finalist for the Drunken Boat First Book Prize, will be published this coming winter by Enclave Publishing House and distributed in the US by Zephyr Press. Her honors include a 2013-14 Fulbright Grant, which she spent doing research at Peking University. She has also received a Henry Luce Translation Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, a PEN/Heim Translation Grant, the 2013 Ninth Letter Translation Prize, the 2012 DJS Translation Award, two Ann Kao Foundation Translation Fellowships, and an International Merit Award in Poetry from the Atlanta Review. Her work has been the finalist for the Cliff Becker Book Award twice. She has held residencies at the American Academy in Rome and VSC, and she has given lectures and readings across China and the United States. She is currently a Research Associate at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Selected translations and poems can be found here.

See the Stryk Prize shortlist here.

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NTA Winner in Prose: The New Waw: Saharan Oasis by Ibrahim al-Koni, translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins

The National Translation Award (NTA), given by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) at our conference, is the oldest prize for a work of literary translation. This year, the association was pleased to present the award in prose to translator William M. Hutchins for his stunning translation into English from the Arabic.

Al-Koni-New WawThe New Waw: Saharan Oasis, by Ibrahim al-Koni, translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins (Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, 2014).

“William M. Hutchins’ translation of New Waw: Saharan Oasis masterfully channels the poetic rhythms of Ibrahim al-Koni’s tale of a group of Tuareg, struggling with their evolution from a nomadic tribe to a settled community and the tensions that inevitably arise. Legends, fables, prophecies and tribal laws, expressed in lyrical, metaphorical language, give a glimpse into the group’s traditions and the Tuareg mythical paradise oasis, Waw,” said NTA judges Jason Grunebaum, Anne Magnan-Park, and Pamela Carmell.

Hutchins’s best-known work is his translation of the Cairo Trilogy by Egyptian Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz. This trio of novels is widely regarded as one of the finest works of fiction in Arabic literature, and Hutchins’ translation is the principal version available in English (published by Everyman’s Library among others). In addition, he has translated a variety of Arabic authors: Tawfiq al-Hakim, Ibrahim ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Mazini, Muhammad Salmawy, al-Jahiz, Nawal El-Saadawi, Muhammad Khudayyir,Ibrahim al-Koni, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, Hassan Nasr, and others. In 2005-2006, Hutchins received a US National Endowment for the Arts grant in literary translation. His translations have appeared in several issues of Banipal magazine. He has also written a number of original short stories that have been published in the journals Cold Mountain Review and Crucible.

View the longlist and the shortlist here.

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Announcing the 2015 IPTA Shortlist Titles!

Oct. 27, 2015—The American Literary Translators Association is pleased to announce the 5-title shortlist for the 2015 IPTA (Italian Prose in Translation Award). Inaugurated this year, The Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) recognizes the importance of contemporary Italian prose (fiction and literary non-fiction) and promotes the translation of Italian works into English. This $5,000 prize will be awarded annually to a translator of a recent work of Italian prose (fiction or literary non-fiction).

Featuring books published in Italian from 1991 to 2011, from five different U.S. publishers, these books represent the diversity and significance of contemporary Italian literature. This year’s judges are Paul Vangelisti, Susan Harris, and Diana Thow.

The winning translator will receive a $5,000 cash prize, and the award will be announced at ALTA’s annual conference, held this year at the Marriott University Park in Tucson, AZ from Oct. 28-31, 2015. If you can’t join us in person, check out our Facebook page, Twitter, or the #ALTA38 hashtag for announcements of the winner.

The 5-title shortlist books will be featured on the ALTA blog over the next month, with reviews written by the judges, on the ALTA blog. Download the PDF of this press release here.

The 2015 IPTA Shortlist (in alphabetical order by title):

daybeforehappinessThe Day Before Happiness
by Erri de Luca
translated by Michael Moore
(Other Press)

pimpsnotesA Pimp’s Notes
by Giorgio Faletti
translated by Antony Shugaar
(Farrar Straus and Giroux)

mybrilliantfriendMy Brilliant Friend
by Elena Ferrante
translated by Ann Goldstein
(Europa Editions)

by Claudio Magris
translated by Anne Milano Appel
(Yale University Press)

Walaschek’s DreamWalaschek’s Dream
by Giovanni Orelli
translated by Jamie Richards
(Dalkey Archive Press)

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Teaching Translation Conference at Mills College — November 7!

Teaching Translation – a one-day conference free and open to the public — will introduce the new low residency MFA in Translation offered at Mills College and explore teaching strategies for the new program. The event will take place November 7 on the Mills College campus in the Lokey Graduate School of Business (GBS) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The one-day conference will be hosted by program directors Achy Obejas and Dr. Carlota Caulfield. Obejas and Dr. Caulfield will be joined by Berkeley-based translator Dan Bellm and Mills alum and translator Stacy McKenna. Generously sponsored by the English Department at Mills College, the event will also include a reception by Bon Appetit!

The new Low Residency MFA in Translation is the first low residency program of its kind in the San Francisco Bay area. The five semester program provides students with a flexible academic schedule, practical training, and a solid foundation and understanding of contemporary translation trends.

The program offers two seven-day residential periods throughout the year, one in winter and one in summer in addition to online options. Beginning in their first semester, students work closely with a master translator in a mentored study environment. The program will also include a Practical Translation semester designed to diversify and enhance the worldview of the student. The program combines both the critical and creative to successfully train and prepare translators.

Program co-director Achy Obejas is a critically acclaimed prose, poetry, and literary translator. Her translation, into Spanish, of Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao / La Breve y Maravillosa Vida de Óscar Wao was a finalist for Spain’s Esther Benítez Translation Prize from the national translator’s association. Her most recent translation, Papi by Rita Indiana, will be released in March 2016. The author of three novels, a collection of short story and a poetry chapbook, she was named a USA Ford Fellow in 2014. She is currently the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills.

Co-director Carlota Caulfield is a professor and head of the Spanish and Spanish American Studies at Mills College. Caulfield has been teaching at Mills since 1992 and is the coeditor of Barcelona: Visual Culture, Space and Power (University of Wales Press, 2012 and 2014), a fully illustrated volume bringing together fresh insights into the changing urban space of Barcelona from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. She is also an award-winning poet and the author of eleven books of poems, including 34th Street and Other Poems, The Book of Giulio Camillo (A Model for a Theater of Memory), Quincunce / Quincunx, Ticket to Ride, Essays and Poems, and A Mapmaker’s Diary: Selected Poems.

Dan Bellm is a writer, editor and translator living in Berkeley, Calif. Widely published in poetry and fiction from Spanish and French, Dan’s works include Sun on the Ceiling (Au soleil du plafond) by Pierre Reverdy (The American Poetry Review, July/August 2009), and Angel’s Kite (La estrella de Angel), by Alberto Blanco (Children’s Book Press, 1994). His translation of Laura Gallego García’s novel, The Legend of the Wandering King (La leyenda del Rey Errante) (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, Inc., 2005), made the American Library Association’s Notable Books for Children list and the School Library Journal’s Outstanding International Books list for 2006. He is also a consultant on Spanish-language books for children and youth for Scholastic, Inc.

Stacy McKenna received her MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College in 2002. She recently taught English and literary translation at the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro in Querétaro, Mexico, and currently teaches literary translation online for Intralingo. Her translations have appeared in The Other Poetry of Barcelona, Códols in New York, 580 Split, and Cerise Press.

The conference is free. Parking at Mils College is free.

To register, write: translation@mils.edu.

Mills College
Lokey Graduate School of Business (GBS) Room 125
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, Calif. 94613
Nov. 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information: translation@mills.edu

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