Marian Schwartz is a prize-winning translator of Russian fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, and Mikhail Lermontov. Her most recent book translations are Mikhail Shishkin's Maidenhair (Open Letter Books), three novels by Andrei Gelasimov (AmazonCrossing), and Aleksandra Shatsikih's Black Square (Yale University Press). Her translations of Mikhail Bulgakov's White Guard and Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov are now out in paperback from Yale University Press. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships and is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association.
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Renowned French translator Alison Anderson has written a pointed and substantive essay for Words Without Borders detailing the shockingly low numbers of women authors represented in translation:
I've never been good at math, or maybe I should say, I never liked math enough to be good at it, even if I did get the odd A in the subject in high school. So I don't have a clue how to divide 3% by 26%, for example. I searched on the Internet, and found calculators that were very handy for the research I was doing for what has turned into this blog, but I'll have to leave it to you to work out what twenty-six percent of three percent is. Not an awful lot.
As most of the readers of these pages will know, three percent is the rough estimation of the number of translations from other languages into English published in an average year. Twenty-six percent, however, is just an average I have chosen from my informal and hardly exhaustive or scientific survey into the percentage of women authors published in translation in a given year.
For the detail, read the full essay at Words Without Borders.
On April 20, 2013, my translation of Mikhail Shishkin's Maidenhair topped the BookPeople bestseller list! Not too surprising, considering the great turnout at his reading there on April 8. Even then, the store had sold all its copies!
Shishkin and Maidenhair have been enjoying similar success throughout this month's national promotional tour, which is being capped off tonight by his appearance at the opening night of the PEN World Voices Festival and in "The Critic's Global Voice," another World Voices event, on May 1.
The highlights of the fiction finalists include The Hunger Angel by Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller, Satantango by Hungarian powerhouse László Krasznahorkai, A Breath of Life by the departed Brazilian author Clarice Lispector, and Maidenhair by Russia's most praised contemporary author, Mikhail Shishkin.
The winning works of poetry and fiction will be announced at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3, as part of the PEN World Voices/CLMP Fest event taking place in the Washington Mews area of New York City.
Mikhail Shishkin’s Maidenhair, which I translated for Open Letter Books, has been named one of the 75 Notable Translations of 2012 by World Literature Today, keeping company with dozens of fine writers, translators, and publishers.