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Barrios Book in Translation Roundtable

November 1, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Event Video

The NBCC is honored to bring together the translators of 5 of the 6 finalists for the inaugural Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize in a panel discussion about the art and craft of translation. Our panelists include Jennifer Croft, Boris Dralyuk, Mara Faye Lethem, Christina MacSweeney, and Mark Polizzotti. The discussion will be moderated by Mandana Chaffa, NBCC board member and vice president of the Barrios Prize committee.

Register for this panel here:

The Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize was inaugurated in the 2022 publishing year to highlight the artistic merit of literature in translation across genres and to recognize translators’ valuable work, which expands and enriches American literary culture by bringing world literature to English-language readers. The first prize was presented in March 2023 to the novel Grey Bees by Andrey Kurkov, translated by Boris Dralyuk and published by Deep Vellum.

The finalists were Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Mark Polizzotti from French (Archipelago), Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera, translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Two Lines Press), The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft from Polish (Riverhead), When I Sing Mountains Dance by Irene Solà, translated by Mara Faye Lethem from Catalan (Graywolf), and You Can Be the Last Leaf by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, translated by Fady Joudah from Arabic (Milkweed Editions).


Jennifer Croft won a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship for her novel The Extinction of Irena Rey (2024), the 2020 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing for her illustrated memoir Homesick and the 2018 International Booker Prize for her translation from Polish of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights.

Boris Dralyuk is the author of My Hollywood and Other Poems (Paul Dry Books, 2022) and the translator of Isaac Babel, Andrey Kurkov, Maxim Osipov, and other authors. His poems, translations, and criticism have appeared in the NYRB, the TLS, The New Yorker, and elsewhere, and he is the recipient, most recently, of the 2022 Gregg Barrios Translation Prize from the National Book Critics Circle. Formerly editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, he is currently an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Tulsa.

Mara Faye Lethem is a writer, researcher, and literary translator. Winner of the inaugural Spain-USA Foundation Translation Award for Max Besora’s The Adventures and Misadventures of Joan Orpí, she was also recently awarded the Joan Baptiste Cendrós International Prize for her contributions to Catalan literature. Her translation of Irene Solà’s When I Sing, Mountains Dance was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Barrios Book in Translation Prize, the Warwick Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize and winner of the Nota Bene Prize. Her forthcoming translations include Pol Guasch’s Napalm in the Heart, Alana S. Portero’s Bad Habit, Max Besora’s The Fake Muse, and Irene Solà’s I Gave You Eyes And You Looked Toward Darkness.

Christina MacSweeney is an award-winning literary translator, working mainly in the areas of Latin American fiction, essays, poetry, and hybrid texts. She has translated works by such authors as Valeria Luiselli, Daniel Saldaña París, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Julián Herbert, Jazmina Barrera, Karla Suárez, and Elvira Navarro. She has also contributed to anthologies of Latin American literature and published shorter translations, articles, interviews, and collaborations on a wide variety of platforms. Her translation of Jazmina Barrera’s Cross-Stitch is forthcoming in fall 2023 and Clyo Mendoza’s Fury in 2024.

Mark Polizzotti has translated more than sixty books from the French, including works by Gustave Flaubert, Arthur Rimbaud, Scholastique Mukasonga, Patrick Modiano, Marguerite Duras, and André Breton. His translations have won the English PEN Award and been shortlisted for the National Book Award, the International Booker Prize, the NBCC/Gregg Barrios Prize, and the French-American Foundation Translation Prize. He is a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. Polizzotti is the author of twelve books, including Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton, Highway 61 Revisited, Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto, and Why Surrealism Matters. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, ARTnews, The Nation, Parnassus, Bookforum, and elsewhere. He lives in New York, where he directs the publications program at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


November 1, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm