Translation and Human Rights in Troubled Times. Celebrating the launch of UConn’s Program in Literary Translation with an evening of award-winning translators.

Feb. 21, 2017, 6:00 PM at the University of Connecticut’s Konover Auditorium

At a time of international unrest and misunderstanding, the UConn Storrs campus will host an evening of talks by three distinguished translators of world literature to discuss how translation can protect and celebrate human rights across the boundaries of language.

Carles Torner – Executive Director PEN International, the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization – will join acclaimed translators Edith Grossman and Esther Allen on Feb. 21, 6PM at the University of Connecticut’s Konover Auditorium. Their subject: the key role that translation plays in protecting human rights through the sharing and preservation of world literature.

In her genre-defining book Why Translation Matters, Grossman writes: “Despotic governments are willing to go to extraordinary lengths in their usually successful, tragic official efforts to control, restrict, and narrow access to the spoken and written word.” Join us as we celebrate the spoken and written word, and explore the ways a new generation of translators can contribute to this important work.

This event is co-sponsored by UConn’s Humanities Institute and Human Rights Institute.

Date: Tuesday, February 21st, 6PM, with opening reception

Location: Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Center, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Participant biographies:

Carles Torner is Executive Director of PEN International; he is a literary translator and has published several books of poetry in Catalan, the most recent being La núvia d’Europa (Europe’s bride, 2009). In 1998 he was awarded the National Critic’s Award for Viure després (Life afterwards). His most

recent collection of fiction and nonfiction essays is L’arca de Babel (Babel’s arch, 2005). He has held senior positions in PEN International (1993-2004), and is at present the Head of the Literature and the Humanities Department of the Institut Ramon Llull, which aims for the international promotion and translation of Catalan literature.

Edith Grossman is a translator and critic, the recipient of awards and honors including Fulbright, Woodrow Wilson, and Guggenheim Fellowships, the PEN Ralph Manheim Medal Translation-and-Human-Rights-Event-Posterfor Translation, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Queen Sofía Translation Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Grossman has brought over into English poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by major Latin American writers, including Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Álvaro Mutis, Mayra Montero, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Peninsular works that she has translated include Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, novels by Julián Ríos, Carmen Laforet, Carlos Rojas, and Antonio Muñoz Molina, poetry of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, The Solitudes of Luis de Góngora, and the Exemplary Novels of Miguel de Cervantes.

Esther Allen is a writer and translator who teaches in the CUNY Graduate Center Ph.D. Programs in French and in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages, and at Baruch College, CUNY. Among her many translations are works by Jorge Luis Borges, Gustave Flaubert, and Jose Marti. A two-time recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowships, she has been a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and at at the Grad Center’s Leon Levy Center for Biography. She co-founded the PEN World Voices Festival in 2005, and has worked with the PEN/Heim Translation Fund since its inception in 2003 . In 2006, the French government named her a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres and in 2012 she received the Feliks Gross Award from the CUNY Academy for the Arts and Sciences. Her most recent translation is of Antonio Di Benedetto’s 1956 classic Zama, published by New York Review Books Classics.


For more information, please contact:

Peter Constantine, Director, Program in Literary Translation



Brian Sneeden, Graduate Assistant, Program in Literary Translation



This entry was posted in news.