Livestreamed on this page on Tuesday 4 August 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).
Lightning in a Bottle: A Case Study of Publishing Literary Translation
Featuring Yoko Tawada with Margaret Mitsutani, Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Jeffrey Yang & Rivka Galchen, moderated by Stephen Snyder
PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library presented Lightning in a Bottle: A Case Study of Publishing Literary Translation livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 4 August 2020 at 10:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 1:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 19:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).
What makes a successful book in translation? Have you ever wondered how many people are involved in various stages and how many pieces need to fall into place for an astonishing work of literary translation to make it into the hands and hearts of readers? Featuring Yoko Tawada with Margaret Mitsutani, Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Jeffrey Yang & Rivka Galchen, moderated by Stephen Snyder. Sponsored by Middlebury Language Schools.
Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo in 1960, moved to Hamburg when she was twenty-two, and then to Berlin in 2006. She writes in both Japanese and German, and has published several books—stories, novels, poems, plays, essays—in both languages. She has received numerous awards for her writing including the Akutagawa Prize, the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, the Kleist Prize, the Goethe Medal, and the National Book Award (US). New Directions publishes her story collections Where Europe Begins (with a Preface by Wim Wenders) and Facing the Bridge, as well her novels The Naked Eye, The Bridegroom Was a Dog, Memoirs of a Polar Bear, and The Emissary.
Margaret Mitsutani is a translator of Yoko Tawada and Japan’s 1994 Nobel Prize laureate Kenzaburo Oe.
Susan Bernofsky directs the program in literary translation at Columbia University. She has translated Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, and is currently working on a new translation of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain for W.W. Norton. Her biography of Robert Walser is forthcoming from Yale UP in spring 2021.
Barbara Epler started working at New Directions after graduating from college in 1984, and is now the president and publisher. She has been lucky to work with with great translators of such wonderful writers as Yoko Tawada, W.G. Sebald, Laszlo Krasznahorkhai , César Aira, Clarice Lispector, Ingeborg Bachmann, Joseph Roth, Bei Dao, Alejandra Pizarnik, Fleur Jaeggy, Yoel Hoffmann, Roberto Bolaño, Takashi Hiraide, Robert Walser, among many others.
Jeffrey Yang is the author of Hey, Marfa; Vanishing-Ling; and An Aquarium. He works as an editor at New Directions Publishing.
Rivka Galchen is an award-winning fiction writer and journalist who loves noodles and numbers and modest-sized towns where her dad might have worked. Her work appears often in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The London Review of Books and The New York Times. She is the author of three books: Atmospheric Disturbances (Novel, FSG, 2008), American Innovations (Short Stories, FSG 2014) and Little Labors (Essays, New Directions, 2016). She has received numerous prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Fellowship, The Berlin Prize and The William J Saroyan International Prize in Fiction. In 2010, she was named to The New Yorker’s list of 20 Writers Under 40. Galchen also holds an MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Rat Rule 79 is her first book for young readers.
Stephen Snyder, Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies at Middlebury College, serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Language Schools. He is the author of Fictions of Desire: Narrative Form in the Novels of Nagai Kafū (University of Hawai’i Press 2000) and has translated works by Yōko Ogawa and Kenzaburō Ōe, among others. His translation of Ogawa’s Hotel Iris was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2011, and his translation of Ogawa’s Revenge was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction prize in 2014. His translation of Ogawa’s Memory Police was a finalist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature and is a finalist for the International Booker Prize. He is currently working on a study of the publishing industry and its effect on literary canons in translation.
About this Conference and Conversation Series
Translating the Future launched with weekly hour-long online conversations with renowned translators throughout the late spring and summer and will culminate in late September with several large-scale programs, including a symposium among Olga Tokarczuk's translators into languages including English, Japanese, Hindi, and more.
The conference, co-sponsored by PEN America, the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center CUNY, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, with additional support from the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, commemorates and carries forward PEN's 1970 World of Translation conference, convened by Gregory Rabassa and Robert Payne, and featuring Muriel Rukeyser, Irving Howe, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and many others. It billed itself as "the first international literary translation conference in the United States" and had a major impact on US literary culture.
The conversations are hosted by Esther Allen & Allison Markin Powell.
About HowlRound TV
HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world's performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email email@example.com, or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal/WhatsApp. View the video archive of past events.