On Thursday 5, Friday 6, Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 of November, Fundación Typa with the support of Fundación Proa, will be making a series of events organized in conjunction with the Susan Sontag Prize.
Copyright: Mikhail Lemkhin
In order to estimulate the publication of foreign literary works in the United States, The Susan Sontag Foundation established an award presented annually to translators under the age of thirty. The original language evaluated changes every year. This time, the chosen language was Spanish. The jury evaluated the submissions of fifty candidates and the three finalist proposals where for Argentine authors: Sergio Chejfec, Silvina Ocampo and Juan José Saer. Finally, the prize was given to the translator Roanne Sharp and her version of La Mayor, by Juan José Saer.
The TyPA foundation, that has been workingfor more than seven years in order to make Argentine literature known throughout the world, was put in charge of the presentation of the award in Argentina in conjunction with the Sontag Foundation. The event will consist of three round tables (dedicated to Saer and to Sontag, respectively, and the current state of translation between English and Spanish) and the award ceremony.
As everyone knows, the publication of quality translation to English from foreign languages is very dificult and, at the same time, indespensable. Both foundations hope to join forces to promote this exchange and achieve the greatest possible circulation.
To register for the conference, write to: email@example.com
More information available at: www.typa.org.ar
TRANSLATION AS A METHOD OF LITERARY CIRCULATION
Susan Sontag Award Conference
November 5th and 6th, 2009
PROA Foundation Auditorium
• THURSDAY NOVEMBER 5TH
15 a 15:15 hs
15:15 a 17:30 hs
Round Table: Can Juan José Saer be translated?
Speakers: Roanne Sharp, Miguel Dalmaroni, Alberto Díaz, María Teresa Gramuglio, David Oubiña.
Coordinator: Raquel Garzón
17:30 a 18 hs
Break – coffee
18:00 a 19:20hs
Screening: Portrait of Juan José Saer (80´/Argentina/1996).
Script and Direction: Rafael Filippelli.
• FRIDAY NOVEMBER 6TH
15 a 17 hs
Round Table: Translation as a connection: a look at the state of translation between Spanish and English
Speakers: David Rieff, Gabriela Adamo, Marietta Gargatagli, Anna Kazumi Stahl
Coordinator: Ezequiel Martínez
17 a 17:30hs
Break – coffee
17:30 a 19:00hs
Round Table: About Susan Sontag
Speakers: Anne Jump, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Graciela Speranza
Coordinator: Verónica Chiaravalli
SUSAN SONTAG TRANSLATION PRIZE
For her translation of La Mayor, by Juan José Saer (Argentina).
Roanne Sharp earned a BA in Comparative Literature from UCLA in 2008 with a focus in English and Spanish post-colonial literature. Roanne has worked extensively in rural communities in Latin America with the assistance of the Houston-based non-profit organization Amigos de las Américas. She is the recipient of UCLA’s prestigious Peter Rotter Prize for an essay exploring multiple translations of Pablo Neruda’s Walking Around. In addition, she spent a semester at the University of Delhi where she studied English translations of Hindu devotional poetry. She is currently enrolled in the PhD program in Comparative Literature at The University of Texas at Austin.
For her translation of Viaje olvidado y Autobiografía de Irene by Silvina Ocampo (Argentina).
For her translation of Tres poemas y una merced (o cuatro poemas desplazados) by Sergio Chejfec (Argentina).
, Aurelio Major
, David Rieff
, Ninón Lavernia Rodríguez
, Judith Thurman
THE AWARD-WINNING WORK
JUAN JOSÉ SAER (Argentina)
La Mayor (1976)
The breif stories that compose this work can be attributed to what is called “the objective narration”, of which Robbe Frillet was the first mentor and of whom Saer was a great follower. Memory, chance and the impossibility of returning from exile (of being a stranger at home), are some of the recurring themes that populate the stories of La Mayor, where already present are Tomatis and Pinchôn Garay, two of the characters that will not leave Saer in any of his further tales.
BREIF BIOGRAPHY OF THE AUTHOR
Juan José Saer was born in Serodino, Provence of Santa Fe, Argentina on June 28, 1937. He was a professor at the National Literary University where he taught film history and criticism and film esthetic. In 1968 he moved to Paris, where he was exiled for political reasons. There he spent the last thirty years of his life. His vast narrative work, considered one of the most significant of contemporary argentine literature, is made up of four books of stories-–En la zona (1960), Palo y hueso (1965), Unidad de lugar (1967), La mayor (1976)– and ten novels: Responso (1964), La vuelta completa (1966), Cicatrices (1969), El limonero real (1974), Nadie nada nunca (1980), El entenado (1983), Glosa (1985), La ocasión (1986, Premio Nadal), Lo imborrable (1992) and La pesquisa (1994). In 1983, he published Narraciones, an anthology in two volumes that brought his stories together. In 1986 Juan José Saer por Juan José Saer, a selection of texts accompanied by a study by María Teresa Gramuglio, and in 1988, Para una literatura sin atributos, with articles and conferences that were published in France. In 1991, the essay El río sin orillas received great critical support, the same as El concepto de ficción, which he presented in 1997. His original poetic work is gathered in El arte de narrar (1977), in which the author explains his goal to “combine poetry and narration”. When he died on June 11, 2005, he left his final novel, La grande, unfinished.
THE SUSAN SONTAG FOUNDATION
In the spirit of Susan Sontag’s lifetime commitment to young artistic voices, the Susan Sontag Foundation honors talented emerging artists in a variety of disciplines and promotes the international exchange of language and culture.
SUSAN SONTAG PRIZE FOR TRANSLATION
Susan Sontag devoted a great part of her life to championing the English translation and publication of heretofore un-translated works of both classic and contemporary world literature. Whether she was cajoling publishers to take on writers famous in their own country but relatively unknown or forgotten in the English-speaking world – writers such as Robert Walser, W. G. Sebald, Anna Banti, or Victor Serge – or by writing her own essays about their work, Susan Sontag was indefatigable in her enthusiasm and commitment to what she once called “literature as an international system.” That is, globalization and multiculturalism in the truest and most humane sense of those terms.
In Susan Sontag’s honor, the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation was established to continue that work. This prize is awarded annually to a literary translator under the age of 30 for a translation project of his or her own design. An evaluation panel comprised of noteworthy translators, writers and Foundation members determines the prizewinner each year. Following announcement of the Prize, the Foundation will “employ” this fledgling writer over a four-month period of time, oversee the completion of their project, and encourage the writer’s curiosity and skill in the field of literary translation. Most translation prizes, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, are awarded to established writers whose works have already been published. In contrast, the Susan Sontag Foundation seeks to encourage rising talents who will directly benefit from exposure to a broader literary sphere that might otherwise be unreachable for them at such an early juncture in their careers.
Furthermore, with this Prize for Translation, the Susan Sontag Foundation seeks to raise the overall stature of literary translation in America. Across the country, very few universities focus on or teach translation, particularly at the undergraduate level. According to a recent study by The New York Times, a mere 3.54% of new adult fiction published in America was in translation. This is a great loss for American readers; as Sontag said of her own childhood reading experiences in her acceptance speech for the Friedenspreis in 2003: “To have access to literature, world literature, was to escape the prison of national vanity, of philistinism, of compulsory provincialism, of inane schooling, of imperfect destinies and bad luck. Literature was the passport to enter a larger life; that is, the zone of freedom… Literature was freedom. Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged, literature is freedom.”
Now, more than ever, it is crucial for young people in America to find ways to embrace foreign cultures, languages, political sensibilities, aesthetic notions, and tastes.
The ultimate goal of the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation is to foster a new generation of literary translators, strengthen these young writers’ curiosity in voices beyond their own borders and hone their talents in bringing those new voices home for Americans to hear, thereby changing the landscape of literary fiction in this country.
Susan Sontag was born in New York City on January 16, 1933, grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and attended high school in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. from the College of the University of Chicago and did graduate work in philosophy, literature, and theology at Harvard University and Saint Anne’s College, Oxford.
Her books, all published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, include four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover, and In America; a collection of short stories, I, etcetera; several plays, including Alice in Bed and Lady from the Sea; and nine works of nonfiction, starting with Against Interpretation and including On Photography, Illness as Metaphor, Where the Stress Falls, Regarding the Pain of Others, and At the Same Time. In 1982, FSG published A Susan Sontag Reader.
Ms. Sontag wrote and directed four feature-length films: Duet for Cannibals (1969) and Brother Carl (1971), both in Sweden; Promised Lands (1974), made in Israel during the war of October 1973; and Unguided Tour (1983), from her short story of the same name, made in Italy. Her play Alice in Bed has had productions in the United States, Mexico, Germany, and Holland. Another play, Lady from the Sea, has been produced in Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Korea.
Ms. Sontag also directed plays in the United States and Europe, including a staging of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in the summer of 1993 in besieged Sarajevo, where she spent much of the time between early 1993 and 1996 and was made an honorary citizen of the city.
A human rights activist for more than two decades, Ms. Sontag served from 1987 to 1989 as president of the American Center of PEN, the international writers’ organization dedicated to freedom of expression and the advancement of literature, from which platform she led a number of campaigns on behalf of persecuted and imprisoned writers.
Her stories and essays appeared in newspapers, magazines, and literary publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Art in America, Antaeus, Parnassus, The Threepenny Review, The Nation, and Granta. Her books have been translated into thirty-two languages.
Among Ms. Sontag’s many honors are the 2003 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the 2003 Prince of Asturias Prize, the 2001 Jerusalem Prize, the National Book Award for In America (2000), and the National Book Critics Circle Award for On Photography (1978). In 1992 she received the Malaparte Prize in Italy, and in 1999 she was named a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government (she had been named an Officier in the same order in 1984). Between 1990 and 1995 she was a MacArthur Fellow.
Ms. Sontag died in New York City on December 28, 2004.
SUSAN SONTAG Film Series
In the Framework of:
TRANSLATION AS A SYSTEM OF LITERARY CIRCULATION
Conference for the Susan Sontag Award
Duet for Cannibals (1969)
Duración: 105 minutos
Duet for Cannibals is a story about psychological, sexual and emotional canibalism. The film tells a tale of two couples involved in academia and politics. Artur Bauer is a university professor living in exile in Sweden with his enigmatic wife Francesca. He hires young Tomas, ostensibly to help arrange his papers for publication. After leaving his mistress to live with the couple and take the position, Tomas quickly discovers that things are not quite right with the dysfunctional pair. The late New York Times critic Vincent Canby described Duet as “intriguing, surprising, witty and sinister to the end.”
Brother Carl (1971)
Duración: 97 minutos
Brother Carl is about human relations: it features an odd quartet of characters whose efforts to communicate are thwarted by blatantly self-destructive impulses. Two women, Karen and Lena, visit a Swedish island resort where Lena’s ex-husband Martin lives in comparative seclusion with a mentally disturbed dancer named Carl. Martin has become Carl’s caretaker as well as his nemesis, since Carl seems to blame him for his crackup. Lena is a vibrant young woman who selflessly offers her life first to the brooding Karen, then Martin, and finally to Carl.
Promised Lands (1974)
Duración: 87 minutos
Promised Lands, Susan Sontag’s third film, was shot in Israel during the final days and the immediate aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In this photographic essay, Sontag meditates on the current (1974) situation of the country and its people as well as her feelings about Israel and its future. Despite its personal nature, the film is largely understood as a documentary.
Unguided Tour (1983)
Duración: 71 minutos
Unguided Tour, Susan Sontag’s fourth and final film, was based on her short story of the same title. Also known as “Letter from Venice,” the film features Lucinda Childs and Claudio Cassinelli and tells of a relationship that is fragmenting as they tour the decaying ruins of a hallucinatory Venice.