Treasurers of Our Most Powerful Words
A conversation with some of the most active translators of Romanian literature into English
With some of the most active translators of Romanian literature in the English-speaking world as guests, our latest Feraru Conference morphed into a true round-table on the arts&crafts of translation, the prospects of Romanian translations in the US and the UK, the manifold obstacles that keep Romanian titles away from their American and British readers, and on clever approaches to getting more Romanian authors into American and British bookstores, brick-and-mortar as well as virtual. Join Alistair Ian Blyth, Sean Cotter, Andrew K. Davidson, Adrian G. Sahlean, and Adam J. Sorkin for a closer and more personal look at the uses and magic of translation.
Alistair Ian Blyth is one of the most active translators working from Romanian into English today. A native of Sunderland, England, Blyth has resided for many years in Bucharest. His many translations from Romanian include: Little Fingers by Filip Florian (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), Our Circus Presents by Lucian Dan Teodorovici (Dalkey Archive Press, 2009), Coming from an Off-Key Time by Bogdan Suceavă (Northwestern University Press, 2011), and Life Begins on Friday by Ioana Pârvulescu (Istros Books, 2016).
Sean Cotter is an award-winning translator of Romanian literature and a scholar specializing in translation, comparison, and modernism. Winner of the Best Translated Book Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Grant, his recent translations include: Mircea Cărtărescu's Blinding (Archipelago Books, 2013), T. O. Bobe's Curl (Wakefield, 2019), and Magda Cârneci's FEM (Deep Vellum, 2021). His study, Literary Translation and the Idea of a Minor Romania, won the Society for Romanian Studies Biennial Book Prize. He is Professor of Literature and Translation Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Andrew K. Davidson is a poet, translator and publisher from Phoenix, Arizona, currently living and working in Bucharest. Having earned a master's degree in Comparative Literature and a certificate in Literary Translation Studies from Arizona State University, he went on to translate from a range of Romanian authors, including Mircea Cărtărescu, Nora Iuga, Claudiu Komartin, Gellu Naum, Matei Vişniec, Cristian Fulaș, Doina Ruști, and Lavinia Braniște. In 2015 and 2016 he featured as a guest of FILIT Iași and was one of the translators selected for the RCI Bucharest translation workshops.
Boston-based Adrian George Sahlean is a translator of poetry, short stories, memoirs, plays, fairytales and children’s books and certified clinical psychoanalyst. A lifelong, and outstanding, effort to find meter-and-rhyme English equivalents to the exceptionally difficult poetic language of Romania’s iconic poet Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889) has earned him several international awards, including the UNESCO Gold Prize (2000), the LiterArt XXI Grand Prize (2002), and the National Center for Eminescu Studies Award for Translation (2016). In 2015, his volume of essays on literary translation Migălosul cronofag (The Painstaking Chronophage, Editura Mașina de Scris) won the Book-of-the-Year award from the Romanian Writers Union.
Adam J. Sorkin has sixty-five books of Romanian translation in print and accepted for publication next year. His most recent books, all from 2020, are as follows: Ioana Ieronim, Lavinia and Her Daughters, A Carpathian Elegy, translated with the poet (Červená Barva Press), Mircea Cărtărescu, A Spider’s History of Love, translated with seven collaborators (New Meridian Arts), and Aura Christi’s The God’s Orbit, translated with Petru Iamandi (Mica Press). Adam Sorkin is Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Penn State Brandywine.