Literary Translation at Columbia (LTAC)

Literary Translation at Columbia (LTAC)

Literary Translation at Columbia (LTAC), a component of the Columbia University MFA Writing Program, offers all Writing students the opportunity to pursue coursework in literary translation as part of their studies. LTAC is not a formal translator-training program; rather, it was created out of the belief that an encounter with literary translation is beneficial to a writer’s development and imagination, while conversely the skills involved in writing well are also essential for translation. LTAC offers workshops, seminars and master classes in literary translation each semester that are open to all students enrolled in the Writing Program, as well as to students in other graduate programs on campus when space allows.

The director of LTAC is Susan Bernofsky. Recent faculty include Edith Grossman, Natasha Wimmer, Mónica de la Torre, David Hinton, Peg Boyers, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Jennifer Hayashida, Madhu Kaza, Matvei Yankelevich, Katrina Dodson, Michael F. Moore, Karen Van Dyck, Xiaolu Guo, Bela Shayevich, Sarah Arvio, Megan McDowell, Yardenne Greenspan, Julia Sanches, Kimi Traube, Jeremy Tiang, and John Keene.

Students sitting at a table

All Writing Program students are invited to enroll in individual LTAC courses, and students interested in advanced translation work are encouraged to pursue a joint course of study in Writing and Literary Translation.

Prospective students interested in the joint course of study should apply to the MFA Writing Program in Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry and express their interest in translation in the general application. Please note that LTAC is offered only as a secondary course of study in the Writing Program and cannot be a student's main area of study. Students accepted into the Writing Program in any genre are asked to contact the LTAC director to declare their intention to pursue the joint course of study by the end of their first semester.

The evolving LTAC curriculum includes translation workshops, seminars, and master classes that explore the art of literary translation and its connection to other forms of creative writing. Students are also able to enroll in foreign language classes on offer at Columbia. For students pursuing the joint course of study, this coursework culminates in the submission of a brief translation thesis together with the thesis in their primary concentration.

Recent Alumni Publications

Golden Boy: Beethoven’s Youth by Mikael Ross, translated from German by Nika Knight ‘14 (Fantagraphics, 2022)

Equestrian Monuments by Luis Chaves, translated from Spanish by Julia Guez '11 and Samantha Zighelboim '11 (After Hours Editions, 2022)

Quake by Auður Jónsdóttir, translated from Icelandic by Meg Matich '15 (Dottir Press, 2022)

The Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du mal) by Charles Baudelaire, translated from French by Aaron Poochigian ‘16 (Liveright, 2021)

Magma by Thora Hjörleifsdóttir, translated from Icelandic by Meg Matich ‘15 (Grove Press, Black Cat 2021)

The Cheapest France in Town, poems by Seo Jung Hak, translated from Korean by Megan Sungyoon '20 (Toad Press, 2021)

In Case of Emergency by Mahsa Mohebali, translated from Persian by Mariam Rahmani ‘21 (Feminist Press, 2021)

Las Biuty Queens by Iván Monalisa Ojeda, translated from Spanish by Hannah Kauders ’20 (Astra, 2021)

Outgoing Vessel by Ursula Andkjær Olsen, translated from Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen ’17 (Action Books, 2021)

Aristophanes: Four Plays by Aristophanes, translated from ancient Greek by Aaron Poochigian ’16 (Liveright, 2021)

Tomorrow They Won’t Dare to Murder Us by Joseph Andras, translated from French by Simon Leser ’19 (Verso, 2021)

The Memory Monster by Yishai Sarid, translated from Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan ’12 (Restless Books, 2020)

When You Kant Figure It Out, Ask a Philosopher: Timeless Wisdom for Modern Dilemmas by Marie Roberts, translated from French by Meg Richardson ’20 (Little, Brown Spark, 2019)

Killing Plato by Chantal Maillard, translated from Spanish by Yvette Siegert ’07 (New Directions, 2019). Finalist, PEN Award for Poetry in Translation

The First Mrs. Rothschild: A Novel by Sara Aharoni, translated from Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan ’12 (Amazon Crossing, 2019)

What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde, translated from Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel '12 (Mariner Books, 2018)

Stormwarning by Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir, translated from Icelandic by K.B. Thors ’14 (Phoneme Media, 2018). Winner, 2017 Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award

The Last Country by Svenja Leiber, translated from German by Nika Knight ‘14 (Seagull Books, 2018).

Third-Millennium Heart by Ursula Andkjær Olsen, translated from Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen ’17 (Action Books / Broken Dimanche Press, 2017). Winner, 2018 National Translation Award in Poetry

Old Demons, New Deities: Twenty-One Short Stories from Tibet, edited and with translations from Tibetan by Tenzin Dickie ’14 (OR Books, 2017)

Pioneers: The First Breach by S. An-sky, translated from Yiddish by Rose Waldman ’14 (Syracuse University Press, 2017)