The Art of Translation: An SB Reads Panel Discussion

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Libros y lecturas, SB Lee

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Join translators Jessica Powell and Suzanne Jill Levine for a conversation with SBPL Spanish Outreach Coordinator Catalina Morancey for a discussion on translation, interpretation, and the cultural, emotional, and historical perspectives needed to translate a work of historical fiction.

Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation will be hosting a reception as part of this event to thank donors for their support of SB Reads. Registration is not required, but will help ensure that there are enough refreshments for everyone in attendance.

Jessica Powell

Jessica Powell has published translations by a wide variety of Latin American writers, including, most recently, Pedro Cabiya’s novel Reinbou (forthcoming from Astra House in Spring 2024); Sergio Missana’s The Transentients (McPherson & Co., 2021) and Gabriela Wiener’s Nine Moons (Restless Books, 2020), which was a 2021 Firecracker Award Finalist and 2021 Northern California Book Award Finalist. She was the recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship in support of her translation of Antonio Benítez Rojo's novel Woman in Battle Dress (City Lights, 2015), a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Translation. Her translation of Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya (Mandel Vilar Press, 2016) was named a finalist for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award and made the longlist for the 2017 National Translation Award. Her translation, the first-ever into English of Pablo Neruda’s book-length poem, venture of the infinite man, was published by City Lights Books in October of 2017. Other projects include co-translations with Suzanne Jill Levine of Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo’s Where There’s Love, There’s Hate (Melville House, 2013) and Silvina Ocampo’s The Promise (City Lights Books, 2019).

Suzanne Jill Levine

UCSB Professor and eminent translator and scholar of the Latin American Boom writers, Suzanne Jill Levine’s books include The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction (Graywolf Press, reissued by Dalkey Archive), Manuel Puig & the Spiderwoman: His Life and Fictions (FSG, Faber & Faber, UWP, e-book), Guia de Adolfo Bioy Casares and two poetry chapbooks. A Guggenheim Fellow, she has won many awards including several National Endowment for the Arts and for the Humanities grants, and has just received an honorary diploma from the Real Academia of Nicaragua. In the course of her career since the early 1970s she translated over forty volumes of fiction and poetry by writers such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Julio Cortazar, Jose Donoso, Carlos Fuentes, Manuel Puig, Severo Sarduy and Cecilia Vicuna. Editor and co-translator of a five-volume series of Jorge Luis Borges’ poetry and non-fictions for Penguin paperback classics (2010), her most recent translation, Guadalupe Nettel’s Bezoar and Other Unsettling Stories, was shortlisted for the 2021 Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize. She is writing a “translator’s memoir” of which excerpts have appeared in Words Without Borders, Another Chicago Magazine and Letras Libres.


Participants in this event may be photographed by Library staff. These photos may be used in promotional or educational publications, including in print, social media, and presentations. Please see staff if you do not consent to having your photo taken. Staff will obtain individual, signed photo releases of photographs that contain only an individual as opposed to a group.