2012 — 2013 Events

October 13, 2012 The Center at Litquake! Mary Jo Bang and Graham Foust

The Center is teams up with Litquake to present a reading from two vastly different but equally powerful translations, showcasing the talents of Mary Jo Bang and Graham Foust.

Mary Jo Bang's most recent undertaking—a translation of Dante’s Inferno into contemporary “living English”—produces a work that's as much a faithful interpretation of the original as it is a poem of Bang’s own. Bang re-imagines Dante’s classic poem to include references to pop culture and takes stylistic risks in order to capture its darkness and drama for a modern audience. Join us with Bang for the most engaging, fun, and revelatory reading of Dante you’ll ever experience.

Then Graham Foust reads from his new translation (a collaboration with Samuel Frederick) of German poet Ernst Meister’s In Time’s Rift, published by the estimable poetry press Wave Books. Appearing in English for the first time, this collection of brief, koan-like poems reflects Meister’s lifelong obsessions with being and mortality, which he contemplated in a style that has been compared to that of Paul Celan.

This reading takes place at the Latin American Club—come grab a margarita and hear some great writing.

  • October 13, 2012
  • Latin American Club
  • 3286 22nd St (between Mission and Valenica), San Francisco
  • 6:00-7:00 PM
  • FREE
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
October 24, 2012 Passageways Launch Party in New York City

Join author Naja Marie Aidt and translators Erica Mena and Rachel Morgenstern-Clarren for spirited readings from the new volume of TWO LINES, Passageways. Co-sponsored with the popular New York reading series The Bridge, this event happens at the lovely McNally-Jackson bookstore.

Hear Mena read from the politically inflected Puerto Rican poet Rafael Acevedo, Morgenstern-Clarren on the Brazilian poet Flávio de Araújo, and Aidt read from her short story "Blackcurrant," which involves sex with sheep. You can also be among the first to purchase Passageways and get it signed!

  • October 24, 2012
  • McNally-Jackson
  • 52 Prince Street, (between Lafayette & Mulberry), New York City
  • 7:00 pm
  • FREE
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
October 25, 2012 CANCELED—Passageways Launch Party in San Francisco

We're reluctantly canceling this event because the Giants will be playing the first game of the World Series just a block away. But please join us on Friday in the East Bay (details below).

Come join the staff of the Center for the Art of Translation and select Bay Area translators to celebrate the launch of Passageways, the 19th volume in the TWO LINES World Writing in Translation series. It all happens in the book-lined lobby of Chronicle Books, where you'll sip wine and snack on delectable morsels before hearing readings of new writing from all over the world.

Hear local translators read some of the best emerging writers from around the world! Fulbright scholar Katrina Dodson reads from The Summer of Chibo, a novel co-written by renowned Brazilian authors Vanessa Barbara and Emilio Fraia. Dan Bellm reads from Mexican poet Jorge Esquinca's beautiful, elegiac long poem "Description of a Flash of Cobalt Blue" ranging across Esquinca's personal life to the Mexican state of Jalisco and even Hans Christian Andersen's fables. Lastly, local poet Denise Newman reads her story of the bracing, sexy story "Blackcurrant," involving some intimate situations with farm animals.

Come join us for a drink, meet new friends into translation, and celebrate the publication of a series praised both near and far.

  • October 25, 2012
  • Chronicle Books
  • 680 Second St. (a short walk from Montgomery BART), San Francisco
  • 6:00 pm
  • $5 suggested donation, copy of Passageways with $10+ donation
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
October 26, 2012 Passageways East Bay Launch Party

Join acclaimed Berkeley poet Camille Dungy to celebrate the newest volume of TWO LINES, titled Passageways at the lovely Berkeley bookstore Mrs. Dalloway's. Dungy co-edited the book and here reads from Passageways with celebrated Bay Area translators.

In addition to Dungy, we will welcome Oakland-based author, translator, and previous TWO LINES contributor Carolina de Robertis. Robertis is the author of two acclaimed novels, Perla and The Invisible Mountain, as well as the translator of Roberto Ampuero’s The Neruda Case, published earlier this year by Riverhead Books.

She reads alongside San Francisco-based translator Deborah Garfinkle, who earlier this year received grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the PEN Foundation for her translations of the renowned Czech author Pavel Šrut.

Join us for this event and find out about the latest in the world of international writing! In addition to new literature from over 30 different countries, Passageways also has a special section on new Brazilian writing, with 9 astonishing new voices from the southern behemoth.

  • October 26, 2012
  • Mrs. Dalloway's
  • 2904 College Ave. (at College & Ashby), Berkeley, CA
  • 7:30 pm
  • FREE
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
November 15, 2012 Bill Johnston Celebrates Poland's Epic 20th Century

Join us as we host Bill Johnston, the recipient of the 2011 Best Translated Book Award and the 2011 PEN Translation Award. Johnston received those honors for his amazing translation of Stone Upon Stone by Wieslaw Mysliwski, an action-packed epic of a modernizing Poland filled with bar fights, drinking, tales from the peasant life, and lots and lots of sex. It's a little like a Polish One Hundred Years of Solitude, and it made Johnston so beloved that his publisher even made him his own t-shirt.

Come hear the celebrated, engaging Johnston talk about the career-capping masterpiece from one of Europe's greatest 20th-century authors, a two-time recipient of Poland's highest literary honor. Along the way you'll find out what really happens in the Polish heartland during those long, cold winters, how hard it is to cross a busy highway with a horse and buggy, and the absurdly comic situations that a naive farmer can get into with his nation's communist bureaucracy.

  • November 15, 2012
  • 111 Minna St Gallery (Minna @ Second St.), San Francisco
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm
  • FREE
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
December 6, 2012 Paul Legault and the McSweeney's Holiday Party

Hear acclaimed poet Paul Legault reads from his new McSweeney's book, The Emily Dickinson Reader: An English-to-English Translation of Emily Dickinson's Complete Poems.

Then celebrate one of San Francisco's best literary presses at its annual fundraiser and party. The event includes karaoke and a dance party.

  • December 6, 2012
  • Make Out Room
  • 3225 22nd Street San Francisco, CA
  • 7:00 pm
  • $18 ticket (purchase here) includes a FREE copy of the Believer or Lucky Peach magazines, Sweets from Dandelion Chocolate, Tiger Beer, Holiday Eats, Unquantifiable Entertainment
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
December 11, 2012 Translating Turkish Literature with Aron Aji

Find out how a religion survives without any art. That's just what happens in A Long Day's Evening when the Emperor of Byzantium orders the destruction of all religious paintings and icons. Veteran Turkish translator Aron Aji here talks about his work with a masterwork by 20th-century Turkish author Bilge Karasu, often referred as "the sage of Turkish literature."

Recipient of a National Translation Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, Aji here discusses the challenges inherent in working from this challenging language.

  • December 11, 2012
  • 111 Minna St Gallery (Minna @ Second St.), San Francisco
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm
  • FREE
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
April 4, 2013 Mikhail Shishkin's Amazing Maidenhair

Awarded numerous prizes in Russia and acclaimed as a masterpiece, Mikhail Shishkin's Maidenhair has been compared to Ulysses for its intricate plot and exuberant prose. Ostensibly set on the Swiss border, where asylum-seekers attempt to gain entry against implacable guards, the book encompasses numerous narratives, ranging across literature, philosophy, wild jokes, and the history of the 20th century. The Dallas Morning News called it "true literature, a phenomenon we encounter too rarely in any language."

In this event we welcome the acclaimed, multi-award-winning Russian author and his remarkable wordsmith of a translator, Marian Schwartz, who has translated Russian literature for over 20 years, including classic works, like Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov and Mikhail Bulgakov's White Guard, and contemporary greats, like Andrei Gelasimov and Olga Slavnikova.

They'll be in conversation with the Center's Scott Esposito for a delightful exploration of Russian literature, from Tolstoy and Chekhov up to the latest, amazing work. Editor of the Center's online publications and co-host of its podcast, That Other Word, Esposito has covered literature for a wide variety of publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.

Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
April 14, 2013 Poetry Inside Out at The Booksmith

Kids translating Basho? You bet!

Stalwart Bay Area indie bookstore The Booksmith has invited staff from the Center's Poetry Inside Out program to give an interactive workshop—for kids age 9 and up, and their adults. Young readers will find out how to translate poems from different languages (no foreign language skills required!) with fun, education brainstorming and word games (all material provided).

Space is limited. There is no cost to attend, but RSVPs are necessary: email events@booksmith.com to reserve your spot!

  • April 14
  • 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
  • The Booksmith
  • 1644 Haight Street San Francisco, California 94117
  • FREE, but RSVP required: events@booksmith.com
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
April 20, 2013 Voices Carry Benefit Event and Dinner

Seven renowned novelists (Yiyun Li, Ann Packer, Vikram Chandra, Ayelet Waldman, Anita Amirrezvani, Sylvia Brownrigg, and K.M. Soehnlein) share the great world literature that has inspired them. In the elegant Library Room and Salon of the City Club of San Francisco, they will read the translations that have shaped their own award-winning work. Enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres and a no-host bar in a gorgeous Art Deco setting.

Buy a VIP ticket and join the writers afterward for an intimate three-course dinner at Credo Restaurant. You'll also receive a limited edition chapbook and a Center for the Art of Translation moleskine for your own bons mots.

“A great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations” — Ezra Pound

Voices Carry benefit event
5:30–8:30pm

The City Club, 155 Sansome Street, SF

Voices Carry exclusive dinner with guest readers (20-person limit)
8:30–10:30pm

Credo Restaurant, 360 Pine Street, SF
(included with VIP ticket only)

Ticket sales for this even have ended. Tickets will be avialble for sale at the door of The City Club.

YIYUN LI grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her debut short-story collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won numerous national and international awards. Her novel The Vagrants won the California Book Award for fiction and was shortlisted for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She was selected by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40 and was named a MacArthur Foundation fellow in 2010. She is a contributing editor to the Brooklyn-based literary magazine A Public Space and she teaches at the University of California, Davis.

ANN PACKER is the author of four works of fiction: the novels Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, which won a Great Lakes Book Award, an American Library Association Award, and the Kate Chopin Literary Award; and two collections of short fiction, Mendocino and Other Stories and Swim Back to Me. Her books have been translated into ten languages. She lives in northern California.

VIKRAM CHANDRA's latest novel, Sacred Games, was the recipient of the Hutch Crossword Prize for English Fiction (India), a Salon Book Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of Love and Longing in Bombay and Red Earth and Pouring Rain. His previous honors include the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, the David Higham Prize, and the Paris Review Discovery prize. He teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley.

AYELET WALDMAN is the author of the forthcoming Love and Treasure (2014), Red Hook Road, and the New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have appeared in the New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on All Things Considered and The California Report. Her books are published throughout the world, from England to Thailand.

ANITA AMIRREZVANI is an Iranian writer who grew up in San Francisco. She is the author of Equal of the Sun and The Blood of Flowers, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize and heralded by Publishers Weekly, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal. The novel was also featured in the 2007 Kirkus Review’s First Fiction Spotlight. She co-edited (with Persis Karim) the new anthology Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers. A former staff writer and dance critic for the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times, she is currently an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

SYLVIA BROWNRIGG is the author of five novels and one collection of short stories. Her work has been on the New York Times “Notable Books” list and the Los Angeles Times Best Books of the Year, won a Lambda award and a Northern California Book Award. Her reviews have appeared in newspapers including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and the TLS. Last year Penguin published Sylvia’s novel for children, Kepler’s Dream, written under the pen name Juliet Bell. The paperback will be published in May 2013.

K.M. SOEHNLEIN is the author of the novels Robin and Ruby, You Can Say You Knew Me When, and The World of Normal Boys, which received the Lambda Literary Award and has been translated internationally. His writing has appeared in The Village Voice, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, Out, and other publications and anthologies. He teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco.

Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
May 22, 2013 Celebrate The Launch of Two Lines Press

Join us to celebrate the birth of Two Lines Press, a new, expanded publishing venture from the Center for the Art of Translation. We're launching with two outstanding titles: All My Friends by Marie NDiaye, the youngest person ever to be shortlisted for the International Booker Prize (translated by Jordan Stump), and Hi, This Is Conchita by Granta "Best Young Spanish-Language Novelist" Santiago Roncagliolo (translated by Edith Grossman).

Help us celebrate, drink some wine, enjoy the show, and get these books at a great price! Two Lines Press teams up with Intersection for the Arts and Bay Area actors offer staged readings from these two thrilling books.

NDiaye's fierce, unflinching stories, written in intricate and beautiful sentences, ask us how well we can possibly know each other, or even ourselves. Publisher's Weekly said in a starred review, "The five stories in this collection don't follow each other so much as collide like objects in a literary maelstrom, achieving a dizzying terminal velocity."

Roncagliolo's raucous novella Hi, This Is Conchita follows a series of phone conversations where nobody can make themselves quite wholly understood, with hilarious and tragic consequences. Daniel Alarcon raved, "Santiago Roncagliolo is one of the writers of my generation I most admire. He is rigorous, fearless, and funny, with a keen eye for absurdity embedded within the everyday."

We've got two all-star Bay Area actors to give readings from both of these books:

Delia MacDougall's theatre credits include The Government Inspector, the world premiere of Philip Kan Gotanda's After the War, A Christmas Carol, and The Learned Ladies (American Conservatory Theater) and Pericles, Man and Superman, King Lear, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, and Arms and the Man, among others (California Shakespeare Theater). Additional credits include shows at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, INTIMAN Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Alley Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and La MaMa E.T.C. Ms. MacDougall is an actor, director, and company member with Word for Word Performing Arts Company and an actor and director with Campo Santo.

Juan Amador (DJ Wonway) continues his work with Campo Santo in merging music and theatre after collaborating, performing and composing for the Campo Santo project Block by Block, which premiered at the de Young Museum in November as part of Campo Santo’s Artist Fellowship led by Sean San Jose.  As a DJ, MC, composer, performer, he is modern day renaissance man, all around b-boy and performer, Juan’s artistic resume includes emcee freestyle champion, educator, radio host of Thinkbeat Radio on KPFA and All Day Play FM. He began his theatrical career joining Pittsburg, California’s Teatro L.O.C.O.S while still in high school. Other projects include work with La Peña’s Hybrid Theater Ensemble, and various works with groups such as Intersection, SF State’s Playwriting program, recently as part of Cutting Ball Theater’s Vanguardia showcase of experimental Latino playwrights.  Juan has also blended his passion for music and theater by creating Whose Rhyme is it Anyway? an improv troupe using freestyle rap as its focus.  He performs weekly in clubs and venues throughout the Bay Area.
  • May 22
  • Doors 7:00 pm
  • Intersection for the Arts
  • 925 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
  • Admission: $10; $15 = admission + one of the new Two Lines Press titles; $20 = admission + both books
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org
June 5, 2013 A Celebration of 20th-Century Italian Poetry

The Center for the Art of Translation and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura present a celebration of 20th-century Italian poetry!

In honor of Italy's "Year of Italian Culture in the USA," join us for Italian poetry from the recent FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry, with spirited readings from editor Geoffrey Brock and translators W. S. Di Piero, Diana Thow, Michela Martini, and Olivia Sears.

This new anthology brings together a rich group of translations from across the past century and from across the English-speaking world. Edited by translator and poet Geoffrey Brock, the volume is a comprehensive bilingual anthology of 20th-century Italian poetry translated by various hands. Brock and his fellow translators will read their own translations, as well as translations by poets such as Seamus Heaney, Robert Lowell, Ezra Pound, and Allen Ginsberg in celebration of this landmark publication.

  • June 5
  • Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco
  • 814 Montgomery Street San Francisco, California 94133
  • 6:00 pm doors; 6:30 pm reading, with reception to follow
  • FREE
Contact: sesposito@catranslation.org