Recent News

New translation of João Guimarães Rosa’s Grande Sertão: Veredas (The Devil in the Badlands) to move forward

In one of my prouder moments in my editing career, I’m happy to announce that Itaú Cultural has decided to fund Alison Entrekin’s translation of Grande Sertão: Veredas, the masterpiece of João Guimarães Rosa that is often compared to Joyce’s Ulysses. In 2015, WWB solicited a sample from Entrekin, as I’d known for some time that she was working on this project. After WWB’s publication of a selection from the novel and an essay by Entrekin explaining the need for institutional funding for this mammoth project. This is great news, and we should all be very pleased that Alison is taking this on, because this is one of the fundamental works of Western literature. A good translation is long overdue. More on the project over at Words without Borders.

A translation for #DiaD in celebration of Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade

It’s October 31 again, which means it’s “Dia D,” the birthday of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, the greatest Brazilian poet of the twentieth century if not of all time. (The annual event, an initiative of the Instituto Moreira Salles, seeks to celebrate and keep alive the memory of Drummond and his work.) Though best known as a poet, Drummond considered himself a journalist first and foremost, and his crônicas are spectacular. This one, which followed Brazil’s loss to the Italian squad in the 1982 World Cup, reflects on futebol in Brazilian culture.

In the Middle of the Road There Was a (Rolling) Stone: Bob Dylan in Brazil – Words without Borders Daily

Looking to move past the debate over whether Bob Dylan actually deserved the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, I spoke with Brazilian writers Fabrício Corsaletti, Leonardo Gandolfi, Claufe Rodrigues, and Luís Augusto Fischer about the influence of Dylan on Brazilian letters and the song as a literary genre over at WWB Daily.

Interview for GloboNews Literatura on Bob Dylan’s 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature

I had a brief conversation with Claufe Rodrigues about the reaction (mine and others’) to the announcement that Bob Dylan—Minnesota’s second Nobel Prize winner in the Literature category, the first being Sinclair Lewis (who was also the first American writer to ever win the award)—had been granted literature’s highest honor. Interview to air October 14 at 9:30 p.m. Brasilia time on GloboNews.

“My Work,” short story by Ismar Tirelli Neto, leads off new partnership between Words without Borders and Brazil’s Revista Pessoa

I had the pleasure of translating the short story “My Work” by Brazilian poet, fiction writer, and translator Ismar Tirelli Neto as part of a new partnership between New York-based Words without Borders (where I’m editor) and Mirna Queiroz’s Revista Pessoa.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade, poet from the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics

Those of you who saw the opening ceremony of the Olympics here in Brazil no doubt are wondering who the poet whose work Judy Dench was reciting. The poem, “A flor e a náusea,” is one of poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s best. In case you’re interested in reading more of his work, here is a short crônica he wrote following Brazil’s loss to Italy in the 1982 World Cup in my translation. The sporting event is different but Drummond’s words are still every bit as pertinent to the current moment.

Seen at The Literary Hub: PEN America anthology Glossolália: Women Writing Brazil

Glad to see the folks at Lit Hub featuring selections from the book-length anthology of Brazilian women writers out now from PEN America. It was a true privilege to co-edit this collection with Mirna Queiroz of Revista Pessoa and to feature the work of 13 writers from the 2016 Olympic host country. My thanks to the Lit Hub folks, and to all the truly top-notch writers and translators who were part of this project. You can get your copy here: http://glossolaliamag.org/issue-2.

A few thoughts on the Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty in Words without Borders

I’ve finally gotten around to putting a few thoughts together on Flip 2016, my first visit to the international literary festival now in its fourteenth edition. Among many great Words without Borders contributors such as Svetlana Alexievich, Álvaro Enrigue, Valeria Luiselli, and Gabriela Wiener, there was a standout line-up of terrific Brazilian writers like Marcília França Castro, Alice Sant’anna, Noemi Jaffe, and Marília Garcia. Also discussed: the representation of women and Afro-Brazilian writers.

Article on literary translation, Words without Borders, upcoming PEN America anthology of Brazilian women writers in Rio de Janeiro’s O Globo

My thanks to Liv Brandão of O Globo for the conversation about my work translating Brazilian poets Edival Lourenço and Alice Sant’anna, as well as other translations and projects I’ve had the pleasure of editing.

New York Times recommends literary nonfiction from Words without Borders issue “Brazil Beyond Rio”

The July 2016 issue of Words without Borders, focused on the Brazil beyond Olympic-host Rio de Janeiro, has received mention or articles in The Literary Hub, Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo, and Jornal Opção. And now, the New York Times has recommended Artur Domoslawski’s “Death in the Amazon” as one of the pieces its staff is reading.

Interview series in Jornal Opção on the translation of Brazilian literature

Enjoyed my conversation with Marcos Nunes Carreiro of Goiânia’s Jornal Opção (complete with many of my bad jokes) about my work as a translator from the Portuguese, the importance of translators in finding an audience for their authors’ work, and the new translation of João Guimarães Rosa’s Grande Sertão: Veredas in Words without Borders. I also had the pleasure of speaking with Yago Rodrigures Alvim, who then wrote this story about the process of literary translation.

Brazil’s Folha de S. Paulo article on upcoming Words without Borders issue and PEN America book of Brazilian writers

Maurício Meirelles wrote about two projects I’ve had the pleasure of working on and which are to be released in July 2016, both done in collaboration with Mirna Queiroz, for the Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil’s largest daily newspaper. The WWB issue focuses on writers beyond Rio-São Paulo and a few foreign perspectives, while the PEN book brings work from twelve Brazilian women writers for the first time.

Translation of Mia Couto’s Rain and Other Stories from Biblioasis available for pre-order

Recently, my translation of Mia Couto’s Rain and Other Stories (the name we settled on for the collection Estórias Abensonhadas) became available for pre-order on Amazon. I’d recommend, of course, that you buy it at your local bookstore when it comes out January 10, 2017. Perhaps you might even let them know you want and they’ll order a stack.

Interview with Adam Morris, translator of João Gilberto Noll’s Quiet Creature on the Corner, up at Guernica magazine’s website

Adam Morris and I discuss Noll’s only novel available in English (a second, Atlantic Hotel, is forthcoming from Two Lines Press in Morris’s translation) and its relation to Brazil’s current political climate over at Guernica. Have a read!

Translation of Lygia Fagundes Telles, Brazil’s official nominee for the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature,
in World Literature Today

I’m very pleased to share that the excellent World Literature Today has accepted one of my translations of a short story by Brazilian writer Lygia Fagundes Telles. Though Telles is an absolutely fundamental writer in twentieth-century Brazilian literature, nearly all of what’s been published in English up to this point has gone out of print (with the notable exception of The Girl in the Mirror, republished by Dalkey Archive Press a few years ago). Look for it in the May 2016 issue of WLT. Update: You can find the Lygia’s short story “The Green Ball” right here.

Poetry and Translation over at Words without Borders: Interview with Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Most of you probably know Rowan Ricardo Phillips as a poet. If you’re lucky, you also know his work as a translator, too, including such poets at Melcion Mateu over at this month’s Words without Borders. Phillips—one of the contributors to the National Poetry Month feature (In)verse over at WWB— spoke with me about the intersection of poetry and translation over at the WWB blog.

PEN American Center to launch Passages anthology dedicated to Brazilian women writers in Summer 2016

The time is nearing: in late June or early July, the PEN American Center based in New York will launch an anthology of Brazilian writers that I’ve edited with Mirna Queiroz of Revista Pessoa. Writers include: Lygia Fagundes Telles, Brazil’s 2016 Nobel Prize bet; Elvira Vigna; Noemi Jaffe; Ana Maria Gonçalves; Alice Sant’anna; Ana Martins Marques; Marília García; Eliane Brum; Betty Mindlin; Maria Esther Maciel; and Adriana Lisboa.

Words without Borders wins 2016 London Book Fair Excellence Award

I’m so pleased to share that Words without Borders has been awarded the 2016 London Book Fair/Publishers Weekly International Literary Translation Initiative Award. Special congratulations go to Susan Harris, Samantha Schnee, Karen Phillips, Savannah Whiting, and to all who have contributed to the magazine’s success over its 13-year history, especially our translators and writers. I’m pleased to have such wonderful travel companions.

Translation of Mia Couto’s “The Gentle Assassin” in The New York Times Magazine

Glad to be able to share the link now to Mia Couto’s essay for The New York Times Magazine in my translation. My translation of Couto’s Rain and Other Stories is forthcoming from Biblioasis in January 2017.

Translation of Mia Couto forthcoming in The New York Times Magazine

More good news rolling in: come April 3, my translation of a Mia Couto crônica will appear in the New York Times Magazine “Lives” column. This column often focuses on international stories. I won’t give away too much, except to say that the (true) story focuses on one of Mia’s trips to Brazil and the, err, surprise that awaits him there.

Translation of Lygia Fagundes Telles, Brazil’s 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature nominee, in World Literature Today

I’m very pleased to share that the excellent World Literature Today has accepted one of my translations of a short story by Brazilian writer Lygia Fagundes Telles. Thought Telles is an absolutely fundamental writer in twentieth-century Brazilian literature, nearly all of what’s been published in English up to this point has gone out of print (with the notable exception of The Girl in the Mirror, republished by Dalkey Archive Press a few years ago). Look for it in the May 2016 issue of WLT.

In Brazil for 2016: Fulbright project begins

On February 7, I landed in São Paulo and have now moved on to Goiânia, a city about three hours outside Brasília, to work on the translation of a historical novel about the ignominious Anhanguera, an explorer during the colonial era in Brazil. Soon, on to Rio to work with Gabriel García Márquez and Juan Rulfo translator Eric Nepomuceno on a collection of his own short stories.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico writes about PEN American Center Passages anthology of Brazil’s leading women writers

Leading Brazilian literary journalist Josélia Aguiar wrote about the upcoming anthology of Brazilian women writers from PEN America, which I’m co-editing with Mirna Queiroz, and the #readwomen movement. If you read Portuguese, have at it!

Eric M. B. Becker awarded 2016 Fulbright to translate Brazilian literature

I’m pleased to announce I’ll be heading to Brazil for much of 2016 to work closely with two contemporary Brazilian writers to translate their works. My deep thanks to the Fulbright program for seeing the importance in my project. I’m eager to be working with Edival Lourenço and Eric Nepomuceno, among others, to translate their work.

Mia Couto nominated for Man Booker International Prize

2014 Neustadt Prize Winner and 2015 Man Book International Prize nominee Mia Couto

2014 Neustadt Prize Winner and 2015 Man Booker International Prize nominee Mia Couto

Great news: Mozambican writer and 2014 Neustadt Prize Winner Mia Couto is one of 10 finalists for the Man Booker International Prize. I’m currently working on one of his earliest and best short story collections (Estórias Abensonhadas), for which, as you might recall, I earned a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. More on that once a firm publication date is set. You can find my essays on translating Couto here and here, and some stories here, here, and here, in such publications as The Massachusetts ReviewPEN America, and Asymptote.

Joining Words without Borders as editor

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I’m happy to announce that, as of February 2015, I’m joining the terrific world literature magazine Words without Borders. Since 2003, the monthly publication has led the charge to bring more literature in translation to Anglophone readers. Very pleased to be working with the terrific Susan Harris, Karen Phillips, and Joanna Meadows. You can find the announcement here.

New essay on translating Mia Couto now at the World Literature Today blog

I talk about my work translating the collection Estórias Abensonhadas by 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature winner Mia Couto in “(Re)interpretation: On Translating Mia Couto.”

In conversation with fellow translator from the Portuguese Alison Entrekin

Alison Entrekin and I discuss her path to becoming a translator, her latest project—Daniel Galera’s Blood-Drenched Beard—and translating Brazilian writers. You can find it at the Asymptote blog.

New Mia Couto story and essay on the PEN America Blog

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My translation of 2014 Neustadt Prize Winner Mia Couto’s “Pranto de coqueiro” (“Lamentations of a Coconut Tree”) now at the PEN America blog. You can also find my essay on translating the work of Mia Couto, “Everything Full of Weight: On Translating Mia Couto.”

2014 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Award for translation of Mia Couto

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I’m thrilled to announce that my translation of the short story collection Estórias Abensonhadas (working title: Selected Stories) has received a 2014 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Award. My deep thanks for the PEN/Heim Translation Fund Advisory Council Members–Esther Allen, Barbara Epler, Sara Khalili, Michael F. Moore, Lorin Stein, and Lauren Wein–for selecting this work.

From the award announcement:

“These stories, published in 1994, are Couto’s first after years of civil war following independence from Portugal in 1975 and chronicle Mozambique’s rebirth. Becker powerfully enacts Couto’s aim of reconfiguring an inherited, colonial language into a uniquely local and personal idiom.”

More information can be found on the PEN American Center. Keep your eyes peeled for a forthcoming essay I’ll write about translating Couto, as well as a story from the collection to be featured on the PEN website.

Contemporary Brazilian writer Paulo Scott (Nowhere People) on Graciliano Ramos in the Fall 2014 issue of Asymptote

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Asymptote‘s “Writers on Writers” series continues with Paulo Scott talking about the deep impact of 20th century Brazilian master Graciliano Ramos on contemporary Brazilian writers, in my translation.

Translation of Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s crônica about the World Cup, “Perder, Ganhar, Viver” (“Lose, Win, Live”) at Melville House Publishing blog

Since we’re in the thick of World Cup season (and in Brazil, the país do futebol, no less!), hop on over to the Melville House Publishing blog where you can find my translation of Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s newspaper article following Brazil’s loss to Italy in the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

Three stories from 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature winner Mia Couto in the most recent issue of The Massachusetts Review.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 10.19.13 PMVery excited to share my translations from the Portuguese of three more stories from a collection by Mozambican novelist, poet, and essayist Mia Couto, now out in the latest issue of the Massachusetts Review. One of the stories is online at massreview.org. For the others, you’ll have to pick up a copy on newsstands!

Review of Juan José Saer’s La Grande at Words Without Borders

In the most recent issue of Words Without Borders, you can find my review of Steve Dolph’s great translation of Saer’s La Grande, out in June 2014 via Open Letter Books. Yeah, I liked it. But read on to find out why it should shoot to the top of your reading list.

New translation of Mia Couto’s “Serpent’s Embrace” up at Asymptote

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As many have no doubt heard by now, the astounding Mozambican writer Mia Couto was recently named winner of the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. My translation of his short story “Serpent’s Embrace”—never before translated into English—is now up on the Asymptote site.

Read it because Mia’s the bomb.

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