Translation as Haven: Dwelling in the Language of the In-Between
Bennington Translates—Fall 2021
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | Emma Ramadan will discuss her relationship to translation and how translating texts that exist outside the domain of classical French—particularly experimental literature and works from North Africa and the Arab World—has opened up space for new language and new meanings, and in turn allowed for the discovery of a personal haven in the in-between.
In the contemporary French-language cultural scene, literary writing from North Africa stands out for stylistic boldness, social, sexual and gender politics, and tough wrestling with the legacies of colonial history. Emma Ramadan is one of the most highly esteemed translators of writing from Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. "I write in French to tell the French that I am not French," say a number of prominent authors, even as they push and pull and dig into the language of their education, never letting it be forgotten that Arabic, with its dialects and sociolects, as well as the Berber languages, are ever present—in texture, rhythm, allusions, linguistic ghosts and powerful hauntings. Ramadan will read excerpts from her translations, including Abdellah Taïa’s A Country for Dying, Anne Garréta’s In Concrete and Sphinx, Kamel Daoud’s Zabor, or the Psalms, and a co-translation of Marguerite Duras’s Me & Other Writing.
Emma Ramadan is a translator of poetry and prose from French. She is the recipient of the PEN Translation Prize, the Albertine Prize, an NEA Translation Fellowship, and a Fulbright. Her translations include Abdellah Taïa’s A Country for Dying, Anne Garréta’s In Concrete and Sphinx, Kamel Daoud’s Zabor, or the Psalms, and a co-translation of Marguerite Duras’s Me & Other Writing.
Marguerite Feitlowitz (Organizer/Host) Literature Faculty; Noelle Rouxel-Cubberly, Stephen Shapiro; Thomas Leddy-Cecere