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PEN Translation Presents: Expressive Expedients

A Public Space, 323 Dean St., Brooklyn, NY 11217

PEN is proud to announce the PEN Translation Committee’s Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event.

Carrying ideas across boundaries between language, medium, and culture presents rich challenges. We use images and words—be they projected, printed, or spoken—to express thoughts, and their reception is highly dependent on their form. A group of translators and artists will explore the linguistic, visual, temporal, and other kinds of transformational passages their work entails. Artists’ archives, (un)translatability, the analog vs. the digital, and how readers and viewers access works of art and literature will be discussed. Presented by the PEN American Center Translation Committee in conjunction with A Public Space.

This is an Official Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event.


Robert Bononno, translator, French and Italian to English
Cobina Gillitt, theater practitioner/scholar, dramaturg, and translator, Indonesian to English
Alyson Waters, translator, French to English
Hans Witschi, artist and archivist
Alta Price (moderator), artist and translator, Italian and German to English


Robert Bononno has translated more than a dozen full-length works of fiction and non-fiction from the French, including René Crevel’s My Body and I—a finalist for the 2005 French-American Foundation Prize—Hervé Guibert’s Ghost Image, and Henri Raczymow’s Swan’s Way. In 2002 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to complete a translation of the work of Isabelle Eberhardt.


Cobina Gillitt, Ph.D is a translator of plays from Indonesian to English, freelance dramaturg, and Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance at Purchase College, SUNY. Recent publications include Islands of Imagination I: Modern Indonesian Drama (University of Hawaii Press, 2015).





Alyson Waters translates modern and contemporary French literature. In 2012, she won the French-American Foundation Translation Award for her translation of Eric Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times. Waters has received a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a PEN Translation Fund grant, and several residency grants. She teaches literary translation at New York University and Columbia University.



Hans Witschi studied painting in Zurich under Gustav Guldener in the 1970s. He moved to New York City in 1989, after receiving a Studio Grant from the City of Zurich. Paolo Poloni’s documentary on Witschi’s life, Witschi geht, debuted at the Locarno Film Festival in 1992. A comprehensive monograph on Witschi’s work was published in 2012, and in December 2013 an in-depth interview conducted by Zipora Fried appeared in BOMB magazine.




Alta Price runs a consultancy specialized in literature and nonfiction texts on art, architecture, design, and culture. She translates from Italian and German into English, was recipient of the 2013 Gutekunst Translation Prize, and will be a resident at Übersetzerhaus Looren this October. She is currently vice president of the New York Circle of Translators and a member of the PEN Translation Committee.



© Donnelly Marks