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Translator
Valerie Miles is an American writer, translator, and editor living in Barcelona. She was the editorial director of Emecé Editores and associate director of Alfaguara, and for several years oversaw the New York Review Books classics collection in Spanish. In 2003 she co-founded Granta en español, now a project of Galaxia Gutenberg. Her articles and stories have appeared in The New York Times, El País, La Vanguardia, and in magazines such as the Paris Review, Harper’s, and Granta. Miles translates from the Spanish and Catalán and is a professor in the postgraduate program for literary translation at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Her first book, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn: An Anthology of Spanish Language Fiction, was published by Open Letter in 2014.
Born in 1948 in Barcelona, Enrique Vila-Matas is one of the great European storytellers, specializing in stories and novels that play with the interrelation between fiction and reality. He manages to combine great erudition (worn very lightly) and a sometimes black, absurdist sense of humor.
February 11, 2016

Two Voices Salon: Translator Valerie Miles on Spanish author Enrique Vila-Matas

Center for the Art of Translation | 582 Market Street, Suite 700 | San Francisco, CA

This event has already taken place.

On February 11, 2016, we were very pleased to be joined by the editor and translator Valerie Miles via Skype to discuss her translation of Enrique Vila-Matas’s Because She Never Asked, as well as Vila-Matas’s work more generally. When Miles worked with Vila-Matas to create her anthology A Thousand Forests In One Acorn, the author told her that Because She Never Asked was his favorite book that he has ever written. Two Lines Press’s Scott Esposito discusses with Miles why this is, as well as how this book fits into Vila-Matas’s idiosyncratic, postmodern, ironic approach to literature. Miles also talks about the challenges of translation Vila-Matas and her favorite of his books.


AUDIO TABLE OF CONTENTS

0:00 Introductions

4:29 The main idea of Because She Never Asked

10:10 Paul Auster’s book with Sophie Calle, and how it relates to Because She Never Asked

14:30 Valerie’s perceptions of Vila-Matas as a person, and the relationship of Vila-Matas the person to Vila-Matas the author/literary figure

18:35 Vila-Matas’s ridiculous presentation of himself on the page, and how this relates to his literary aesthetic, and the kidney failure that occurs in Because She Never Asked

23:30 Why Because She Never Asked is Vila-Matas’s favorite thing he has ever written; Exploradores del abismo; and Vila-Matas’s near-death experience

30:25 Translation challenges that Valerie faced in Because She Never Asked, including Vila-Matas’s voice and his use of tense in this book

36:50 “Shandys” in Vila-Matas’s literature, the origins of Vila-Matas’s aesthetic

45:10 Vila-Matas’s generosity toward other writers and artists in his books, and writers Valerie and artists has discovered through Vila-Matas

49:54 Vila-Matas’s El País column about Green Apple Books bookseller Stephen Sparks

51:10 Valerie’s favorite work of Vila-Matas’s, The Illogic of Kassel, and a general discussion of Kassel

59:10 Vila-Matas’s relationship to Roberto Bolaño, and disciples of Bolaño compared to disciples of Vila-Matas

1:02:40 Audience Q & A

Translator
Valerie Miles is an American writer, translator, and editor living in Barcelona. She was the editorial director of Emecé Editores and associate director of Alfaguara, and for several years oversaw the New York Review Books classics collection in Spanish. In 2003 she co-founded Granta en español, now a project of Galaxia Gutenberg. Her articles and stories have appeared in The New York Times, El País, La Vanguardia, and in magazines such as the Paris Review, Harper’s, and Granta. Miles translates from the Spanish and Catalán and is a professor in the postgraduate program for literary translation at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Her first book, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn: An Anthology of Spanish Language Fiction, was published by Open Letter in 2014.
Born in 1948 in Barcelona, Enrique Vila-Matas is one of the great European storytellers, specializing in stories and novels that play with the interrelation between fiction and reality. He manages to combine great erudition (worn very lightly) and a sometimes black, absurdist sense of humor.