News

National Endowment for the Arts Announces $250,000 for 16 Literature Translation Fellowships

Washington, DC -- Literary translations enter our canon as new works of art, bringing voices and stories from diverse cultures to a new audience. For the art of literary translation is not simply the act of converting an author's words from one language into another; rather, it requires difficult choices and creative thinking in order to fully convey images and meaning. Today, the National Endowment for the Arts announced its latest efforts to support literary translation through $250,000 in recommended grants to 16 translators to support the translation of works into English from 13 languages and 15 countries.

Joan Shigekawa, NEA senior deputy chairman, said, "The NEA is proud to support translation, whether it's through direct fellowships such as these or through our support of publishers which make these translated works available. Translation is an important and difficult task and these 16 individuals have shown the passion and talent needed to bring these international works to a new audience of readers."

Since 1981, the NEA has awarded 355 translation fellowships for works in 62 languages from 78 countries. With the addition of these 16 projects, three first-time languages will be added to the list: Bulgarian, Haitian Creole, and Macedonian. The recommended projects range from poetry and novels to short stories, plays, and creative nonfiction.

Fiscal Year 2014 NEA Literature Translation Fellows

(More information about these projects and their translators can be found here or through the NEA's online grant search system.)

  • Mohammed A. Albakry (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) is recommended for a grant of $25,000 to support the translation from Arabic of Tahrir Plays and Performance Texts from the Egyptian Revolution, an anthology of six contemporary Egyptian plays written by established and emerging playwrights. This project is in collaboration with Rebekah Maggor.
  • Daniel Borzutzky (Chicago, Illinois) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Spanish of a collection of poetry by Chilean author Raul Zurita.
  • Nancy Naomi Carlson (Silver Spring, Maryland) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from French of a poetry collection by African writer Abdourahman Waberi.
  • David Dollenmayer (Hopkinton, Massachusetts) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from German of the novel A Garden in the North by Michael Kleeberg.
  • Erdağ Göknar (Durham, North Carolina) is recommended for a grant of $25,000 to support the translation from Ottoman Turkish of the epic poem Insurgency by Nazim Hikmet.
  • Jen Hofer (Los Angeles, California) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Spanish of To Be in Pain: Texts from a Wounded Country by Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza.
  • Christina E. Kramer (Toronto, Ontario) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Macedonian of the novel The Path of the Eels by Albanian writer Luan Starova.
  • Andrea Lingenfelter (Berkeley, California) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Chinese of The Kite Family, a collection of fiction by contemporary Hong Kong writer Hon Lai Chu.
  • Denise Newman (San Francisco, California) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Danish of a collection of short stories, Baboon, by Danish author Naja Marie Aidt.
  • George O'Connell (Omaha, Nebraska) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Mandarin of From Here to Here: New and Selected Poems by Chinese writer Hu Lan Lan. This project is in collaboration with Diana Shi.
  • Mariana F. Past (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Haitian Creole of Controversial Issues in Haitian History, a work of creative nonfiction by Michel-Rolph Trouillot. This project is in collaboration with Benjamin Hebblethwaite.
  • Amanda Powell (Eugene, Oregon) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Spanish of the novel El gato de si mismo by Costa Rican writer Uriel Quesada.
  • Daisy Rockwell (North Bennington, Vermont) is recommended for a grant of $25,000 to support the translation from Hindi of the novel Falling Walls by Indian author Upendranath Ashk.
  • Angela Rodel (Sofia, Bulgaria) is recommended for a grant of $25,000 to support the translation from Bulgarian of the novel The Physics of Sorrow by writer Georgi Gospondinov.
  • Rimas Uzgiris (Brooklyn, New York) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Lithuanian of selected poems by Lithuanian writer Judita Vaiciunaite.
  • Hester Velmans (Sheffield, Massachusetts) is recommended for a grant of $12,500 to support the translation from Dutch of the novel Slow Light by Dutch writer Herman Franke.

The NEA received 82 eligible applications for the Fiscal Year 2014 NEA Literature Translation Fellowships. As with all NEA grants, these applications were reviewed by a panel of experts. Each eligible application, however, was also examined by a working literary translator who reported to the panel on how well the original text was rendered into English, how well it reads in English, how important the original author and work are in his or her own country, and how well-represented the author is in the United States.

The National Endowment for the Arts' support of literary translation also extends to direct grants to nonprofit organizations to support projects that promote and develop audiences for international literature. For instance, in fiscal year 2013, Archipelago Books received an Art Works grant to support the publication and promotion of international works of fiction and poetry in English translation and the University of Rochester received an Art Works grant that included support for the continuation of the website Three Percent, which focuses on literary translation. For more information about these and other grants in support of translation projects, visit the NEA's online grant search.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.