Event Calendar

Tue, Mar 3, 2015

Susan Bernofksy

Translator Talks :: SUSAN BERNOFSKY: "Finding a Language for the Past: On Translating Jenny Erpenbeck"

Acclaimed translator and author Susan Bernofsky, former Chair of the Translation Committee of the PEN American Center, directs the literary translation program in the School of the Arts MFA Program in Writing at Columbia University. She has translated over twenty books, including seven by the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, Kafka's The Metamorphosis, Hesse's Siddhartha and, most recently, The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck (Nov. 2014). Her prizes and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship this year, as well as the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize and the 2012 Herman Hesse Translation Prize, and fellowships from the NEH, the NEA, the PEN Translation Fund, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the Leon Levy Center for Biography. She blogs about translation at www.translationista.net.

Photo credit: Caroline White

Wed, Mar 11, 2015


Translator Talks :: IRINA SANDOMIRSKAJA: "'Things Speaking for Themselves': Similarity and Translatability in Walter Benjamin’s Interpretation of History"

Irina Sandomirskaja is Professor of Cultural Studies at the Center for Baltic and East European studies at Södertörn University. With a background in theoretical linguistics, discourse analysis, and feminist theory, her research in culture theory and Russian and Soviet cultural history (literature, film, and art) emphasizes the problems of language and body, language and biopolitics, history and memory.

Her recent publications on the subject include "Aesopian Language: The Politics and Poetics of Naming the Unnameable, in Vernaculars of Socialism," edited by Lara Ryazanova-Clarke and Peter Petrov; "Disoriented Names: Benjamin and Kierkegaard on Politics and History in Language," in Dis-Orientations: Philosophy, Literature, and the Lost Grounds of Modernity, ed. by Marcia Cavalcante Schuback and Tora Lane (2014); "The Leviathan, or Language in Besiegement: Lydia Ginzburg’s Prolegomena to Critical Discourse Analysis in Lidia Ginzburg’s Alternative Identities" ed. Emily Van Buskirk and Andrei Zorin (2012). She is the author of Blokada v slove: ocherki kriticheskoi teorii i biopolitiki iazyka [Besiegement in language: essays in the critical theory and biopolitics of language] (Moscow: NLO, 2013), for which she won the Andrei Belyi Prize 2013; and Kniga o rodine: opyt analiza diskursivnykh praktik [A Book about the Motherland: analysing discursive practices] (Wiener Slawistischer Almanach, Vienna 2001).

Caesar Must Die

Translation Film Series :: CAESAR MUST DIE

50 free tickets are available for 5 College Students with ID.

Introduced by Anston L. Bosman of Amherst College and followed by a 20-minute discussion.

Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's Caesar Must Die deftly melds narrative and documentary in a transcendently powerful drama-within-a-drama. The film was made in Rome's Rebibbia Prison, where the inmates are preparing to stage Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. After a competitive casting process, the roles are eventually allocated, and the prisoners begin exploring the text, finding in its tale of fraternity, power and betrayal parallels to their own lives and stories. Hardened criminals, many with links to organised crime, these actors find great motivation in performing the play. As we witness the rehearsals, beautifully photographed in various nooks and crannies within the prison, we see the inmates also work through their own conflicts, both internal and between each other.

Tickets available here: http://amherstcinema.org/films-and-events/caesar-must-die

Tue, Mar 24, 2015

The Common

Contemporary Arabic Fiction: A Panel Discussion with Hisham Bustani, Thoraya El-Rayyes, Jennifer Acker, Michel Moushabeck, and John Siciliano

What themes, styles, and innovative collaborations are emerging in Middle Eastern fiction? What linguistic, political, and cultural opportunities and challenges do Arabic writers and their editors face in translating and publishing new works?

Hisham Bustani is the author of four collections of fiction and has been featured internationally in publications such as Poets & Writers, the German magazine Inamo, and Britain's The Culture Trip. Works translated into English have been published in World Literature Today, The Common, The Literary Review and other journals in the US, UK, and Canada.

Thoraya El-Rayyes is an Amman-based literary translator who has rendered the works of more than half a dozen contemporary Arabic writers into English. She and Hisham Bustani are the recipients of this year's University of Arkansas Award for the Translation of Arabic Literature for her translation of Bustani's The Perception of Meaning.

Jennifer Acker is Editor in Chief of The Common. She teaches for the English Department at Amherst College and was a Faculty Fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Michel S. Moushabeck is the founder of Interlink Publishing, and the author of several books, including Kilimanjaro: A Photographic Journey to the Roof of Africa and A Brief Introduction to Arabic Music. He is on the board of trustees of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

John Siciliano is an executive editor at Penguin Random House. He publishes writers from around the world—classic and contemporary, famous and forgotten and first-time—for the Viking, Penguin, and Penguin Classics imprints. Among the books he has published from the Arab world are the Iraqi short story collection The Corpse Exhibition by Hassan Blasim, the Saudi novel Wolves of the Crescent Moon by Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, and the Palestinian memoir I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti.

This event is co-sponsored by The Common.

Wed, Apr 1, 2015


Danilo Perez Masterclass

Danilo Perez will hold a music masterclass ahead of his concert on 8pm the same evening.


Danilo Perez and Panama 500

Panama 500 is Pérez’s most ambitious project to date, the furthest evolution yet of what the pianist/composer calls “three-dimensional music.” His blend of influences makes him the ideal musical chronicler of his country’s history: already a land bridge between the Americas with a vibrant indigenous culture, Panama also began to absorb European culture into its own following Balboa’s arrival. Pérez similarly weaves together jazz and Pan-American folkloric traditions with influences from European classical music.

Wed, Apr 15, 2015


Translation Film Series :: LUMUMBA

50 free tickets are available for 5 College Students with ID.

Introduced by John Drabinski of Amherst College and followed by a 20-minute discussion.

Made in the tradition of such true-life political thrillers as Malcolm X and JFK, Raoul Peck’s award-winning epic dramatizes the rise and fall of legendary African leader Patrice Lumumba. When the Congo declared its independence from Belgium in 1960, the 36-year-old Lumumba became the first Prime Minister of the newly independent state but would last just months in office before being brutally assassinated.

Tickets available here: http://amherstcinema.org/films-and-events/lumumba

Thu, Apr 23, 2015


NEPR Oral History presentation

This year, Amherst students, in conjunction with the Copeland Colloquium, have been interviewing Pioneer Valley residents who speak English not as their first language, seeking out the multicultural voices of our valley telling their own stories. The presentation will feature segments from the interviews. Come join us for a presentation of their work.

Tue, Apr 28, 2015


Film Screening: "Towards the Paradise of Flowers: A Documentary Film on Ishimure Michiko"

Produced by Fujiwara Shoten Publishing Co., Directed and music by Kin Tai, English translation by Bruce Allen, 2014. Presented by Bruce Allen, with a discussion to follow on April 29th.

Total running time: 113 minutes.

Wed, Apr 29, 2015


Translator Talks :: BRUCE ALLEN :: "Nurturing Kotodama—the Spirit of Words: From Amherst to Translating Japanese Literature"

Bruce Allen was born and brought up in the Boston area. A member of the Amherst class of ’71, he graduated from Amherst in 1972, Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology, after taking an extra year for field study. In 1983 he moved to Tokyo, where he has lived ever since. He is Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Seisen University in Tokyo, where he teaches courses in translation, environmental literature, and comparative literature. He will be in the US on sabbatical for a year, starting from April 2015. His research interests are in translation, environmental literature, and ecocriticism. He has concentrated particularly on the work of Japanese writer Ishimure Michiko and has translated several of her works, including her novel Lake of Heaven (2008), her Noh play Shiranui (2015), and her documentary film Towards the Paradise of Flowers (2014). He has also co-translated Japanese Tales from Times Past: Stories of Fantasy and Folklore from the Konjaku Monogatari Shu (2015). He has co-edited Between Sea and Sky, a collection of essays on Ishimure from an ecocritical perspective (2015), and is currently translating Ishimure Michiko's novel Spirit Birds.