Click here to read excerpts from the winning manuscripts!

This year, as in the past, the PEN/Heim Translation Fund plays a critical role in bringing important works of literature from around the world to an English-speaking audience through vivid and elegant translations that communicate not just words, but ideas and inspiration. The Fund has played a seminal role in promoting international literature in the United States and in enabling some of the globe’s most talented writers to reach audiences who have been informed and enlightened by their work. In so doing, the Fund helps advance PEN’s mission of bridging divisions through a shared appreciation of great literature.  

 —Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN American Center 

The Translation Fund, now celebrating its tenth year, is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s competition. From a field of 180 applicants, the Fund’s Advisory Board—Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Richard Sieburth, Lauren Wein, Eliot Weinberger, Natasha Wimmer, and Matvei Yankelevich, and chaired by Michael F. Moore—has selected thirteen projects for funding.  

The Fund is also pleased to announce that its nominee for a 2013 New York State Council on the Arts translation grant, Iza Wojciechowska, was awarded a $5,000 grant in January for her translation of Farbiarka (The Dye Girl), by the contemporary Polish poet Anna Piwkowska. Piwkowska’s critically acclaimed poems center on themes of myth, memory, and nature, and have never before appeared in English. (Available for publication)

2013 Translation Fund Grants

Daniel Borzutzky for El País de Tablas (The Country of Planks) by Chilean poet Raúl Zurita. Borzutzky’s commitment to Zurita’s poetry continues with this selection of recent work, which includes a sequence of twenty poems, each named after one of Pinochet’s prisons. As Zurita himself explains, it is an attempt to write a poetry “as powerful as the pain that was delivered by the state.” (To be published by Action Books)  

Isabel Cole for her translation of At the Burning Abyss by Franz Fühmann, the great dissident patriarch of East German letters. This challenging, multifaceted, genre-bending book is Fühmann’s highly personal (auto)biographical response to the great Expressionist poet Georg Trakl. Cole’s translation captures the richness and depth of Fühmann’s complex magnum opus. (To be published by Seagull Publishing)  

Sean Cotter for his translation of Mateiu Caragiale’s Rakes of the Old Court, a relentlessly funny, dark, flamboyant, twisted text that Cotter captures perfectly in this audacious and over-the-top translation. Written in the early 20th century, the text has a contemporary voice that is ahead of its time. (Available for publication)  

Chloe Garcia Roberts for her translation of Escalating Derangements of My Contemporaries by the 9th century Classical Chinese poet Li Shangyin. Garcia Roberts’ translation of these spare, immediate poem-lists is lyrical and intuitive. (To be published by New Directions)  

Edward Gauvin for the translation of Jean Ferry’s The Conductor and Other Tales, the only collection of prose fiction written by Ferry, an illustrious screenwriter associated with a number of avant-garde movements, including the College of ‘Pataphysics and Oulipo. Gauvin’s translation of his work is vivid and authoritative. (To be published by Wakefield Press)  

Eleanor Goodman for Something Crosses My Mind, selected poems of Wang Xiaoni. Wang’s sharp apprehensions of daily life have made her, since the 1970s, one of China’s most influential poets. Goodman’s pitch-perfect translation makes Wang’s work available for the first time in book form in English. (To be published by Zephyr Press)  

Marilyn Hacker for her translation of Jean-Paul de Dadelsen’s The Bridges of Budapest. An associate of Albert Camus and Jean Monnet and a journalist for the BBC’s French service during the forties and fifties, the Alsatian-born Dadelsen has emerged posthumously as a major voice in French poetry. (Available for publication)  

Elizabeth Harris for Tristano Dies by Antonio Tabucchi. This rich and textured translation rises to the challenge of the complex, exuberant Italian text – its voice, musicality, layering, and depth – and allows the reader to follow all of its twists and turns. (To be published by Archipelago)  

Jennifer Hayashida for the translation of Athena Farrokhzad’s debut poetry collection Vitsvit. A Swedish writer of Iranian descent, Farrokhzad sets her poetry against traditional assumptions about society, race, and gender. Hayashida has spirited these at once critical and playful poems into English with a deft hand and more than a few ironic winks. (Available for publication)  

Eugene Ostashevsky and Daniel Mellis for their translation of Tango with Cows by Vasily Kamensky. Originally printed on wall-paper and decorated with cubo-futurist drawings by the Burliuk brothers, this collection introduced the “ferro-concrete” poem and other striking verbo-visual innovations. A perfect team for the task, Ostashevsky and Mellis are able to provide both the linguistic and visual expertise that this Russian futuristic text demands. (Available for publication)  

Jeremy Tiang for Nine Buildings by Chinese playwright Zou Jingzhi. These blunt, tamped-down translations of tales of youth during cultural revolution in Beijing address the grim cruelty of that time. Tiang’s language has a tang and matter-of-factness that effectively communicates the harshness of this text. (Available for publication)  

Annie Tucker for her translation of Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty Is A Wound. A vivacious and at times zany translation of a comic but emotionally powerful Indonesian novel, Tucker’s translation is rich with errant charms and a daring exaggeration. (Available for publication)  

Lara Vergnaud’s translation of Zahia Rahmani‘s France, récit d’une enfance (France, Story of Childhood), the final volume of a loose autobiographical trilogy, the first of which was a finalist for the 2003 Prix Femina. Born in Algeria, the daughter of a Harki, Rahmani writes of what it is to be a radical outsider, alienated from both family and nation. (Available for publication)  

Each of the translators will receive a $3,300 grant toward the completion of his or her project. Publishers and editors who wish to express an interest in any of these projects are invited to contact Paul Morris ( or Michael Moore ( for the translators’ contact information.  

The Fund gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of, which has assisted the Fund’s work this year with a gift of $25,000.