Translators at the Brooklyn Book Festival

The 2011 Brooklyn Book Festival will take place all day tomorrow (Sunday, Sept. 18), and it promises to be a beautiful early-autumn day. Pack a sweater and go out to see and hear some wonderful writers reading from and speaking about their work, signing their books, and mingling with the crowd. You can also hear some wonderful translators. Unfortunately the translators’ contingent is marginalized in this year’s Festival program, so here’s your Insider’s Guide to Translation at the BBF:

1:00 p.m. Borough Hall Community Room (209 Joralemon Street)
“Walker in the City”
Sergio Chejfec (author of My Two Worlds) will be appearing together with his translator Margaret B. Carson (whose name appears in red here because she was omitted from the BBF program) as well as Teju Cole and Geoff Nicholson. Chejfec and Carson read together this past week as part of the Bridge Series, so this is your second chance to catch their pas de deux if you missed them the first time. Moderated by Edmund White.

2:00 p.m. Borough Hall Community Room (209 Joralemon Street)
“Words and Music”
Israeli poet Shimon Adaf will be appearing together with Alina Simone, Julian Gough, and Kevin Young. It is unclear whether or not he will be joined by his (uncredited) translator. Moderated by David Kaufman.

3:00 p.m. Borough Hall Community Room (209 Joralemon Street)
“Remembering Sergei Dovlatov”
I hope it isn’t only because Dovlatov (1941 – 1990) is no longer with us that his translator Antonina Bouis features prominently in the description of this panel. I hope the panel will also pay tribute to Dovlatov’s previous translator Anne Frydman, who died in 2009. I met Frydman in the mid-1980s when I was studying with her husband, Stephen Dixon, and found her very lovely and inspiring. She was just beginning to suffer from the multiple sclerosis that would eventually take her life. Bouis will be joined on the program by Anya Ulinich, Solomon Volkov (another of Bouis’s translatees), and Eugene Ostashevsky, a wonderful poet who is himself a splendid translator from the Russian.

I would add two others to the list as well:

11:00 a.m. St. Francis Volpe Library (180 Remsen Street)
“Arab Spring and the Seasons Ahead”
Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi-born writer who teaches at NYU, is also one of the English-language translators of Mahmoud Darwish. He will be appearing together with Hisham Matar and Yasmine El Rashidi. Moderated by Adam Shatz.

2:00 p.m. Borough Hall Courtroom (209 Joralemon Street)
“Drawn from History”
Esmerelda Santiago, a Puerto Rican author who writes in English and translates her own books into Spanish, will be appearing together with John Sayles and Terese Svoboda. Moderated by Marlon James.

Complete program here. Enjoy the beautiful day of books in beautiful Booklyn!

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