That Other Word was a collaborative podcast between the听Center for Writers and Translators at The American University of Paris听and the听. The podcast offered discussions on classic and contemporary literature in translation, along with engaging interviews with writers, translators, and publishers. It aired from 2012-2013 and featured the following guests:

  • Episode 1: SE interviews Lorin Stein (Editor,听The Paris Review)
  • Episode 2: DM interviews Petra Hardt (Foreign Rights Director, Suhrkamp Verlag)
  • Episode 3: SE interviews Benjamin Moser (Author,听Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector)
  • Episode 4: DM interviews Antoine Jaccottet (Director, Editions Le Bruit du temps)
  • Episode 5: SE interviews Margaret Jull Costa (Translator from Spanish and Portuguese into English)
  • Episode 6: DM interviews G茅raldine Chognard and Sylvia Whitman (Booksellers, Shakespeare & Company and Le Comptoir des mots)
  • Episode 7: SE interviews Stephen Henighan (General Editor, International Translation Series for Biblioasis Press)
  • Episode 8: DM interviews Nick Barley (Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival)
  • Episode 9: SE interviews Ethan Nosowsky (Editorial Director, Graywolf Press)
  • Episode 10: DM interviews Esther Kinsky (Translator from Polish and English into German)
  • Episode 11: SE interviews Will Evans (Publisher, Deep Vellum Press)
  • Episode 12: DM interviews Ng农g末 wa Thiong'o (Author,听In the House of the Interpreter)
  • Episode 13: SE interviews E.J. van Lannen (Publisher, Frisch & Co.)
  • Episode 14: DM interviews Deborah Smith (Translator from Korean into English)

Hosts:听Daniel Medin听and Scott Esposito
Production Assistant:听Madeleine LaRue
Audio Technician:听Mathieu Motta

Listen to the episodes

That Other Word: Episode 1 | Lorin Stein

March 2012

In this first episode, Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito chat about the accidental poetry and reasonable plausibility of听, the miraculous strangeness of听, and the hopping city at the heart of听. They also mention recent and upcoming events at their respective centers, including the CWT鈥檚 publication of the latest in听,听, and the upcoming visit of Jay Rubin and J. Philip Gabriel, translators of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, at the CAT.

Afterward, Scott Esposito is joined by Lorin Stein, editor of听听and former senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. They discuss editing the English version of听听(translated by Mitzi Angel), procuring the rights to Roberto Bola帽o鈥檚 works and editing听, failure and what separates translation from other kinds of writing, 鈥榣iving with books鈥, and why The Paris Review publishes what it does. The conversation concludes with Edouard Lev茅, touching on his aphoristic influences, his humor, his suicide, and his book Autoportrait, which Stein has recently translated from the French.

Table of Contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 01:00 - That Other Word's origins and ambitions
  • 02:35 - C茅sar Aira's Varamo
  • 04:27 - L谩szl贸 Krasznahorkai's Satantango
  • 08:13 - Robert Walser's Berlin Stories
  • 12:48 - Recent events at the CWT: Helen DeWitt, Cynthia Haven, Ivan Vladislavi膰's A Labour of Moles
  • 13:58 - Recent and upcoming events at the CAT: Perry Link, Richard Howard, Jay Rubin and J. Philip Gabriel, Sergio Chejfec
  • 15:45 - Scott Esposito introduces Lorin Stein
FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews Lorin Stein
  • 16:30 - Introductions and editing translations at FSG
  • 21:26 - Jean-Christophe Valtat's 03 28:23 - Roberto Bola帽o's The Third Reich
  • 30:10 - The work of translating
  • 31:20 - Editing 03
  • 34:49 - Discovering, translating, and procuring the rights to Roberto Bola帽o
  • 44:40 - Trends in American literature
  • 51:00 - Work at The Paris Review
  • 55:00 - Edouard Lev茅
That Other Word: Episode 2 | Petra Hardt

April 2012

In this episode, Scott Esposito eagerly anticipates the Dirty War in听, and Daniel Medin shares a delightful description of a freeloader from听. They discuss Daniel Sada鈥檚听Almost Never听and the general robustness of contemporary Mexican fiction, attempt to explain why reading听听is like running downhill in the dark, then hesitate over whether to call听听a memoir or a work of criticism, but agree that it is about Oulipo and very candid.

Daniel Medin then speaks to Petra Hardt, head of the rights department at Suhrkamp Verlag and author of听. Suhrkamp is one of the most prestigious presses in Germany and in Europe, and since its founding in 1950 has published not only many of the greatest German-language writers of the twentieth century 鈥 among them Paul Celan, Theodor W. Adorno, and Thomas Bernhard 鈥 but foreign authors as well, including Samuel Beckett, Marcel Proust, and Julio Cort谩zar. In a series of wonderfully engaging anecdotes, Petra describes her work in rights and foreign rights, how that work is changing in the digital age, and why her book is intended for new presses in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Table of Contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 00:47 - Sergio Chejfec鈥檚 My Two Worlds and The Planets
  • 03:07 - Nescio鈥檚 Amsterdam Stories, including a reading from 鈥淭he Freeloader鈥
  • 07:36 - Daniel Sada鈥檚 Almost Never, plus a mention of Una de dos
  • 11:12 - Can Xue鈥檚 Vertical Motion, plus Liao Yiwu鈥檚 The Corpse Walker
  • 14:07 - Daniel Levin Becker鈥檚 Many Subtle Channels
  • 16:04 - Scott Esposito introduces Petra Hardt and Suhrkamp Verlag
FEATURE: Daniel Medin interviews Petra Hardt
  • 16:43 - How Pippi Longstocking paved the way to Suhrkamp
  • 22:56 - Daily activities and responsibilities at Suhrkamp
  • 26:54 - Rights: Buying. Protecting. Selling.: a primer for small new presses
  • 34:58 - The question of digital rights
  • 38:53 - The importance of long-term planning; or, Thomas Bernhard surpasses Herman Hesse
  • 44:20 - Maintaining the backlist and finding new readers through new media
  • 46:22 - World literature at Suhrkamp: translation and acquisition
  • 48:41 - Some of Petra Hardt鈥檚 favorite contemporary authors: Marcel Beyer, Durs Gr眉nbein, Amos Oz, Zeruya Shalev, Judith Hermann, and Josef Winkler.
That Other Word: Episode 3 | Benjamin Moser

May 2012

In this rather German conversation, Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito discuss the melancholy and pleasure in the most recent collection of W.G. Sebald鈥檚 poetry to appear in English,听. History is a found object in Sebald, and also in听, a wintry advent calendar of thirty-nine short stories by Alexander Kluge and thirty-nine photographs by Gerhard Richter.听听may induce laughing out loud at the wilderness, and the thirtieth anniversary of听听should inspire some very leisurely drives from Paris to Marseilles.

In the second half of the episode, Scott Esposito interviews Benjamin Moser, author of听. Moser has recently re-translated Lispector鈥檚 last novel,听, and is currently editing a series of听听(Near to the Wild Heart, A Breath of Life, Agua Viva, and The Passion According to G.H.). He talks about falling in love with Lispector, his missionary urge to promote her work, The Hour of the Star鈥檚 stylistic strangeness and surprising pathos, and why online grammar forums make the work of translation less lonely.

Table of Contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 01:50 - W.G. Sebald鈥檚 Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems 1964-2001
  • 03:44 - Alexander Kluge and Gerhard Richter鈥檚 December, including a reading from 鈥6 December 1989鈥
  • 09:54 - Robert Walser鈥檚 The Walk
  • 13:03 - Julio Cort谩zar and Carol Dunlop鈥檚 Autonauts of the Cosmoroute, plus Cort谩zar鈥檚 From the Observatory
  • 17:22 - Daniel Medin introduces Benjamin Moser
FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews Benjamin Moser
  • 19:30 - How the new translations of Clarice Lispector came to be
  • 25:39 - Writing Why This World and generating interest in Lispector鈥檚 work
  • 30:52 - Translating The Hour of the Star, Lispector鈥檚 unusual style, and working with four different translators to create one author鈥檚 voice
  • 40:12 - The origins and afterlife of The Hour of the Star
  • 48:00 - The tools of translation; discovering new authors
That Other Word: Episode 4 | Antoine Jaccottet

June 2012

This episode鈥檚 opening conversation celebrates literature from Eastern Europe: Daniel Medin, speaking from Book Expo America in New York City, is impressed with听, and Scott Esposito loves Marek Bie艅czyk鈥檚 genre-bending Transparency. They hope that听听will make its way into English soon, and in the meantime they enjoy the biting humor of听听and听. Finally,听Contemporary Georgian Fiction, the latest in Dalkey Archive Press鈥 series of regional anthologies, provides a welcome introduction to writing from an often-overlooked country.

Daniel Medin then speaks to Antoine Jaccottet, who founded the Paris-based press听听in 2008 and has since brought out an admirable collection of works in translation, collected works, memoirs, poetry, and philosophy.听听He speaks about the publishing program of Le Bruit du Temps, the importance of translation,听,听,听,听,听, and听. The conversation concludes with a bilingual reading: Medin recites听鈥檚 poem 鈥淚n Alexandria鈥 in the original English, and Jaccottet reads the beautiful French translation by Emmanuel Moses.

Table of Contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 01:00 - Mikhail Shishkin鈥檚 Maidenhair, including a reading from one of his essays
  • 05:14 - Marek Bie艅czyk鈥檚 Transparency
  • 06:33 - Julius Margolin鈥檚 Gulag memoir, Voyage au pays des Ze-Ka
  • 07:59 - 脡ric Chevillard鈥檚 Prehistoric Times, plus a mention of Demolishing Nisard
  • 10:35 - Dalkey Archive Press鈥 Contemporary Georgian Fiction
  • 11:39 - Scott Esposito and Daniel Medin introduce Antoine Jaccottet
FEATURE: Daniel Medin interviews Antoine Jaccottet
  • 14:50 - The founding and naming of Le Bruit du Temps
  • 17:55 - Bringing new life to old masterpieces; Mandelstam鈥檚 Le Timbre 茅gyptien
  • 21:38 - Publishing programs as concert seasons; works surrounding Robert Browning
  • 25:10 - The place of translation at Le Bruit du Temps
  • 29:50 - The complete works of Zbigniew Herbert: Corde de lumiere: 艗uvres po茅tiques compl猫tes I and Le Labyrinthe au bord de la mer
  • 32:26 - Julius Margolin鈥檚 Voyage au pays des Ze-Ka 37:42 - Gabriel Levin鈥檚 Ostraca
  • 42:11 - A reading of Gabriel Levin鈥檚 In Alexandria/脌 Alexandrie
That Other Word: Episode 5 | Margaret Jull Costa

September 2012

Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito return to the second season of That Other Word energized by the translators鈥 duels at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the great work being done at the UK-based press And Other Stories. They look forward to new works in translation this fall, including听, Basque author and Edinburgh guest听, and the latest from听. Daniel Medin hopes that several novels generating interest in Germany and France 鈥斕,听, and听听鈥 will soon be translated as well.

Afterward, Scott Esposito sits down with Margaret Jull Costa, a distinguished translator from Spanish and Portuguese who has brought Javier Mar铆as, Jos茅 Saramago, and E莽a de Queiroz into English. She is the winner of numerous literary awards for translation, including the IMPAC Dublin award for her version of听. She speaks about her twenty-five year career, her pragmatic approach to translation, her favorite authors and her love of the nineteenth century, as well her thoughts on the evolution of Javier Mar铆as' style and his latest novel, which she has translated as The Infatuations.

Table of Contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 01:00 - Antonio Tabucchi鈥檚 The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico
  • 03:00 - Edinburgh International Book Festival; And Other Stories
  • 07:20 - Cesar Aira鈥檚 The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira
  • 08:02 - Bernardo Atxaga鈥檚 Seven Houses in France (links to CAT interviews and such)
  • 08:55 - Jenny Erpenbeck鈥檚 Aller Tage Abend, Clemens J. Setz鈥檚 Indigo, and Jean Echenoz鈥檚 14
  • 10:48 - Scott Esposito introduces Margaret Jull Costa
FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews Margaret Jull Costa
  • 12:12 - Introductions; first experiences with translation
  • 17:22 - First encounter with Javier Mar铆as and gaining traction in the field
  • 20:10 - Questions and approaches to translation
  • 23:27 - Margaret Jull Costa鈥檚 favorite authors; Tolstoy in translation
  • 25:43 - Producing new translations; E莽a de Queiroz and the nineteenth century
  • 31:32 - Translating and publishing Mar铆as鈥 All Souls and early novels
  • 36:18 - Winning the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Mar铆as鈥 A Heart So White
  • 38:42 - Consulting with Javier Mar铆as; Margaret Jull Costa鈥檚 working process
  • 41:09 - The evolution of Mar铆as鈥 style; The Infatuations
That Other Word: Episode 6 | Geraldine Chognard & Sylvia Whitman

October 2012

In this episode, Daniel Medin and Scott Eposito revisit听听in its new illustrated paperback edition, and look forward to another take on that author鈥檚 work, the strange and musical 鈥渕onologue for multiple voices鈥 that is听. They discuss the reconstructed romances in Jacqueline Raoul-Duval's听Kafka In Love听and the well-earned praise for听. They hope that Dalkey Archive Press鈥 Arvo P盲rt in Conversation will bring about a resurgence in the genre of conversations, and tip their hats to Seagull Books for publishing two works by the 2012 Nobel Laureate Mo Yan,听听and the forthcoming听

Daniel Medin then speaks to two booksellers in Paris about introducing and promoting literature in translation, challenges to bookselling in the age of Amazon, and the idea of the bookshop as community center.

G茅raldine Chognard manages听听(near the P猫re Lachaise cemetery in Paris鈥 twentieth arrondissement) and co-runs the small press Cambourakis, which specializes in literature in translation and has published Stanley Elkin and L谩szl贸 Krasznahorkai, among others. She speaks about Librest, a cooperative effort among seven bookshops in eastern Paris, and ways to promote new works in translation. She mentions Le Comptoir des Mots鈥 successful poet-in-residence program, which has already hosted Fr茅d茅ric Forte, a member of Oulipo, and Beno卯t Casas, and comments on Cambourakis鈥 upcoming publishing projects, including the French translation of Krasznahorkai鈥檚 War & War.

Sylvia Whitman took over听, Paris鈥 best-known anglophone bookshop, from her father, George Whitman, five years ago. She talks about appreciating the shop鈥檚 history and her efforts to expand its mission, the joys of reading in multiple languages, and the unique position of anglophone booksellers in France. She reveals Shakespeare and Company鈥檚 bestselling titles and recommends some of her staff鈥檚 recent favorites.

Table of Contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 01:06 - Robert Walser鈥檚 Microscripts
  • 02:00 - Elfriede Jelinek鈥檚 Her Not All Her: On/With Robert Walser
  • 05:55 - Jacqueline Raoul-Duval鈥檚 Kafka In Love
  • 06:57 - Stig S忙terbakken鈥檚 Self-Control, plus his essay 鈥淲hy I Always Listen to Such Sad Music,鈥 published in Music and Literature
  • 08:25 - Dalkey Archive Press鈥 Arvo P盲rt in Conversation
  • 09:09 - Works by Mo Yan: Change and Pow!
  • 10:35 - Scott Esposito and Daniel Medin introduce G茅raldine Chognard and Sylvia Whitman
FEATURE, PART 1: Daniel Medin interviews G茅raldine Chognard
  • 12:02 - The role of book stores in introducing and promoting works in translation, with a mention of Reinhard Jirgl
  • 15:47 - Librest and cooperative efforts with other booksellers and presses in Paris
  • 18:30 - Le Comptoir des Mots鈥 poet-in-residence program
  • 21:04 - G茅raldine Chognard recommends: C茅line Minard
  • 22:08 - Krasznahorkai鈥檚 War & War, plus his Au nord par une montagne, au sud par un lac, 脿 l鈥檕uest par les chemins, 脿 l鈥檈st par un cours d鈥檈au
FEATURE, PART 2: Daniel Medin interviews Sylvia Whitman
  • 26:13 - Learning to run Shakespeare and Company
  • 28:15 - 鈥楲ife in translation鈥: Living between languages; reading and promoting literature in translation
  • 31:00 - On being an anglophone bookseller in France
  • 35:01 - Contemporary challenges to bookselling, and Shakespeare and Company鈥檚 solutions
  • 41:30 - Festivals and events at Shakespeare and Company
  • 45:38 - No毛lle Revaz鈥檚 With the Animals, Raymond Queneau, and being well-displaced
  • 48:20 - Sylvia Whitman recommends: Jean-Philippe Toussaint; Edouard Lev茅; Dimitri Verhulst鈥檚 Madame Verona Comes Down the Hills; Gerbrand Bakker; Per Petterson; and Emmanuel Carr猫re鈥檚 Limonov
  • 49:54 - Anglophone authors and books Sylvia Whitman is currently reading
That Other Word: Episode 7 | Stephen Henighan

November 2012

This month, hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito begin by talking about books they haven鈥檛 read, but are eager to: the young Mexican novelist听, which continues to attract praise from all corners; and two works by听听and the forthcoming Silences, or a Woman鈥檚 Life, both of which have been translated by Chaix鈥檚 husband, the American Oulipian Harry Mathews. Daniel Medin enthuses about two stories in the latest issue of Granta,听: Daniel Galera鈥檚 dynamic 鈥淎ponea鈥 and Michel Laub鈥檚 鈥淎nimals,鈥 which Adam Thirlwell calls a 鈥渕atryoshka feat.鈥 Continuing along in the Portuguese vein, Scott Esposito introduces Mia Couto鈥檚 The Tuner of Silences, a recently-translated novel from a fascinating Mozambican writer.

Scott Esposito then speaks to Stephen Henighan, a novelist, critic, and translator from Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. Since 2006, Henighan has been general editor for the International Translation Series at the Canadian-based press听. He talks about immigrant experiences in Canada and his own 鈥渄eeply-rooted rootlessness,鈥 the Canadian relationship to English and translation, and the challenges of procuring and producing translations for the Canadian market. He discusses Mia Couto鈥檚 鈥渞ural modernism,鈥 his literary influences, and why the author travels well, despite being essentially 鈥渦ntranslatable.鈥 Finally, Henighan tells the comical and haphazard story of how he came to learn Romanian, and describes the process of translating and trying to publish听.

Table of Contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 01:00 - Juan Pablo Villalobos鈥 Down the Rabbit Hole
  • 02:39 - Marie Chaix鈥檚 The Laurels of Lake Constance and Silences, or a Woman鈥檚 Life
  • 04:00 - Granta鈥檚 The Best Brazilian Novelists
  • 08:04 - Mia Couto鈥檚 The Tuner of Silences
  • 08:50 - Scott Esposito introduces Stephen Henighan and Biblioasis
FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews Stephen Henighan
  • 10:33 - Coming to translation; traveling, immigrating, writing
  • 16:07 - Translating as and for Canadians
  • 25:49 - Biblioasis International Translation Series: getting started with Ryszard Kapuscinski, Ondjaki, and Horacio Castellanos Moya
  • 32:22 - Mia Couto and Lusophone African authors
  • 42:55 - Marketing translations in Canada
  • 45:58 - Biblioasis鈥 goals and the importance of translation to language
  • 51:54 - Learning and translating from Romanian; Mihail Sebastian鈥檚 The Accident
That Other Word: Episode 8 | Nick Barley

January 2013

Hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito return in the new year enthralled by the 鈥渁bsolutely insane鈥 game of literary telephone in the latest issue of听, in which texts are translated in and out of English and by, among others, J.M. Coetzee, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Lydia Davis. They look forward to games of a slightly different nature in several forthcoming Oulipian works: the 65th anniversary edition of听;听, the dream journal that inspired much of his fiction; and听, a critical examination of the movement co-written with Lauren Elkin.听听promises to be one of the author鈥檚 best since his widely-respected Small Lives;听听is story of clinical dream-invaders from one of Japan鈥檚 premier science fiction writers. Daniel Medin also announces the launch of the eighteenth volume in听,听, next month at the Goethe-Institut in Paris.

Nick Barley is the director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the largest and perhaps best-known literary festival in the world. He gives a lively account of Edinburgh鈥檚 literary heritage and the influence it still exerts on the atmosphere of the festival, and testifies to the continuing importance of such festivals for both authors and readers. He explains the origins of 2012鈥檚 International Writers Conference, at which authors from around the world were asked questions about the relationship between art and politics and the future of the novel. He reflects on the surprising appetite last year鈥檚 audiences showed for translation-related events, and shares several of his own favorite works, of both Scottish and foreign origin, from 2012.

Table of contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 01:00 - 惭肠厂飞别别苍别测鈥檚 Issue 42: 鈥淢ultiples鈥
  • 05:43 - Oulipian works: Raymond Queneau鈥檚 Exercises in Style; Georges Perec鈥檚 La Boutique Obscure: 124 Dreams; Scott Esposito and Lauren Elkin鈥檚 The End of Oulipo?: An Attempt to Exhaust a Movement
  • 09:25 - Pierre Michon鈥檚 The Eleven
  • 11:21 - Yasutaka Tsutsui鈥檚 Paprika
  • 12:00 - Launch of Her Not All Her
  • 13:43 - Daniel Medin introduces Nick Barley
FEATURE: Daniel Medin interviews Nick Barley
  • 15:40 - Introducing the Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • 22:09 - The continuing importance of festivals and the International Writer鈥檚 Conference
  • 28:56 - How Nick Barley came to be involved with the festival
  • 31:20 - Reaching beyond the Anglosphere
  • 36:28 - Highlights of 2012 and translation-related events at the festival
  • 40:05 - Some of Nick Barley鈥檚 favorite books from 2012, including Herta M眉ller鈥檚 The Hunger Angel, Alasdair Gray鈥檚 Every Short Story, and Kirsty Gunn鈥檚 The Big Music
That Other Word: Episode 9 | Ethan Nosowsky

February 2013

At the beginning of this episode, Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito are happy, along with the rest of the Anglosphere, to be rediscovering听, newly translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. They also look forward to a recent success from the Netherlands that鈥檚 been making waves abroad,听, and take an anecdote-filled trip through modernity in听. They continue to be impressed by听, the second volume in a hugely ambitious series that describes (albeit amid a number of digressions) how the author fell in love with his wife.

Scott Esposito then sits down with Ethan Nosowsky, a former Editor-at-Large at Graywolf Press who has recently been named Editorial Director at 惭肠厂飞别别苍别测鈥檚. Nosowsky discusses his early career and several of his experiences with editing translations at Graywolf, most notably with regard to Daniel Sada鈥檚 Almost Never. He talks not only about seeking out great Mexican writers and getting to know Sada鈥檚 work, but also about the working relationship he developed with translator Katherine Silver as she produced the English version. He muses on what makes a manuscript in general attractive to him as an editor and explains 惭肠厂飞别别苍别测鈥檚 innovative publishing model. In conclusion, Nosowsky enthuses about the latest issue of 惭肠厂飞别别苍别测鈥檚 Quarterly, which has been described as a long game of 鈥渢ranslation telephone,鈥 and resolves to pursue more literature from China.

Table of contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 00:45 - Nikolai Leskov鈥檚 The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories
  • 03:28 - Arnon Grunberg鈥檚 Tirza
  • 04:52 - Roberto Calasso鈥檚 La Folie Baudelaire
  • 08:13 - Karl Ove Knausgaard鈥檚 My Struggle: Book Two: A Man in Love
  • 12:52 - Scott Esposito introduces Ethan Nosowsky
FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews Ethan Nosowsky
  • 14:13 - Getting into publishing; first experiences with editing translations
  • 22:42 - Working relationships with translators and authors at Graywolf
  • 28:44 - Procuring, translating, and publishing Daniel Sada鈥檚 Almost Never
  • 36:42 - Transitioning to 惭肠厂飞别别苍别测鈥檚; recent and forthcoming translations at 惭肠厂飞别别苍别测鈥檚
  • 50:02 - 惭肠厂飞别别苍别测鈥檚 profit-sharing publication and publicity models
  • 52:16 - 惭肠厂飞别别苍别测鈥檚 Quarterly translation issue
That Other Word - Episode 10 | Esther Kinsky

April 2013

Prompted by the forthcoming publication of听, hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito embark on a discussion of literary lives and letters. They touch upon the marvelous correspondences of Thomas Bernhard and William Gaddis, and look forward to the lectures collected in听. Reiner Stach鈥檚听, technically the final volume in a biographical trilogy, represents a welcome addition to English-language Kafka scholarship.听, a grotesque and haunting semi-autobiographical tale of the Second World War, returns after many years out of print. The introduction closes with a plea from the hosts to Anglophone publishers not to ignore biographies produced elsewhere:听听and Madame de Sta毛l, among many others, they argue, deserve a broader readership.

Daniel Medin is then joined by Esther Kinsky, a poet and translator from Polish, Russian, and English into German. Her speciality is Polish literature from the First World War to the 1960鈥檚, and she offers wonderful introductions to some of her favorite writers of that period, including Zygmunt Haupt, who lived in the United States and continued to write in Polish even though his own children did not speak the language, Wies艂aw My艣liwski, whose Stone Upon Stone recently appeared in English, and Joanna Bator, whose poetic works Kinsky is currently translating In their conversation, Kinsky and Medin discuss the lives and work of these writers, consider what has kept Eastern European (and particularly Hungarian) poetry and fiction so robust, and discuss the revival of reportage as a genre in Poland. Esther Kinsky also shares an enchanting story about what prompted her to become a translator, muses on the relationship between translating and writing, and mentions her own newest book of prose, whose German title, Fremdsprechen, she roughly translates as 鈥渢alking something into foreignness.鈥

Table of contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 00:50 -听Italo Calvino鈥檚 Letters 1941-1985 and other literary correspondence
  • 03:45 -听Professor Borges: A Course in English Literature
  • 04:19 -听Reiner Stach鈥檚 Kafka: The Years of Insight
  • 08:20 -听Curzio Malaparte鈥檚 The Skin
  • 10:05 -听Michel Winock鈥檚 Flaubert and Madame de Sta毛l
  • 12:08 -听Daniel Medin introduces Esther Kinsky
鈥婩EATURE: Scott Esposito interviews Esther Kinsky
  • 13:58 -听Esther Kinsky's favorite literatures; the Polish writers Miron Bia艂oszewski, Zygmunt Haupt, Wies艂aw My艣liwski
  • 25:25 -听The continuing robustness of Eastern European literature
  • 30:35 - Esther Kinsky鈥檚 life in translation: recent and current work, including Joanna Bator鈥檚 Sandberg (Sand Mountain) and its sequel Wolkenfern; original interest in translation
  • 38:13 -听Travel and translation; Esther Kinsky鈥檚 relationship to her languages and presses
  • 42:17 -听Why translation is good training for becoming a writer and poet; living in Hungary and the resulting 鈥榝oreignness鈥 of German
  • 50:00 -听Fremdsprechen; recent favorite reads and underrepresented authors in English: L谩szl贸 Darvasi, Istv谩n Kem茅ny, Ryszard Szoci艅ski, Jacek Gutorow, Adam Wiedemann, Julia Fiedorczuk
That Other Word - Episode 11 | Will Evans

September 2013

Hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito return after a summer of reading full of praise for a characteristically broad range of texts. First, they delight over听, a newly-translated collection which features several original illustrations by Walser鈥檚 brother, and a long-awaited selected poems in English from an under-appreciated Italian poet,听, translated by 鈥渁 host of luminaries.鈥澨齪rovides a dose of clever Eastern European gallows humor, and听听proves, at over 2500 pages, to be a brilliant addition to one鈥檚 nightstand. Finally, the hosts express their deep admiration and gratitude for a house favorite,听, which represents a culmination of thirty years of the author鈥檚 work.

In the second half of the episode, Scott Esposito speaks to Will Evans, publisher and founder of听听in Dallas, Texas. Their lively conversation opens with the story of how Deep Vellum got its 鈥渃heeky and irreverent鈥 name and a discussion of Texas鈥 thriving literary and cultural scene. Evans speaks in detail about his decision to found a press, his close collaboration with Chad Post of Open Letter Books, and the historical, financial, and intellectual considerations in becoming a publisher of literature in translation. After waxing enthusiastic about his favorite presses and authors, Evans lays out Deep Vellum鈥檚 inaugural catalogue. Reflecting his profound commitment to equal gender representation among his authors, Evans introduces Anne Garr茅ta, the politically radical Oulipian whose novel Sphinx is a genderless love story; Sergio Pitol, the great Mexican novelist whose Trilogy of Memory Deep Vellum will bring into English; Mikhail Shishkin, who is of particular interest to Evans due to his background in Russian, and whose short stories should appeal to anyone who loved Maidenhair; and Carmen Boullosa, another Mexican writer whose novel Texas supports Evan鈥檚 abiding wish to explore Texas鈥 relationship with its southern neighbor.

Table of contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 00:55 - Robert Walser鈥檚 A Schoolboy鈥檚 Diary and Other Stories
  • 02:32 - Patrizia Cavalli鈥檚 My Poems Won鈥檛 Change the World: Selected Poems
  • 03:40 - J谩chym Topol鈥檚 The Devil鈥檚 Workshop
  • 06:47 - Giocomo Leopardi鈥檚 Zibaldone
  • 09:27 - L谩szl贸 Krasznahorkai鈥檚 Seiobo There Below
FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews Will Evans
  • 12:47 - How Deep Vellum got its name; the Texas literary scene
  • 19:52 - Founding Deep Vellum
  • 34:24 - Will Evans鈥 favorite presses and authors
  • 40:10 - Anne Gar茅tta and Sphinx
  • 45:58 - Sergio Pitol and The Trilogy of Memory
  • 51:10 - Mikhail Shishkin and his short stories
  • 56:38 - Carmen Boullosa and Texas
That Other Word - Episode 12 | Ngugi wa Thiong鈥檕

October 2013

In their introduction to this episode, Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito explore two themes: storytelling and surreality. In the latter category are听, a funny, unconventional portrait of contemporary Israel, and听, the first volume in a sweeping trilogy about Romania, memory, New Orleans, and butterflies. The hosts then give a nod to works by two great Spanish-language storytellers: the Guatemalan听听proves irresistible from the beginning, and the Spanish听is evidence that not all love stories are doomed to cliche虂.

Daniel Medin then speaks to Ngugi wa Thiong鈥檕, the renowned Kenyan novelist, essayist, and playwright. Imprisoned by the Kenyan government in 1977 for his Gikuyu-language theatrical projects, Ngugi later argued powerfully for African literature in African (i.e. non- colonial) languages. Since then, he has published numerous works in Gikuyu and Swahili, in addition to a host of scholarly texts in English. Recently, he has turned to memoir, and these two volumes,听听and听, form the basis of much of his conversation with Medin. The two also discuss at length Ngugi鈥檚 commitment to African languages, and touch on the forgotten tradition of pre-1950s African-language writing. Translation takes on increasing importance as a theme as well, particularly in the context of Ngugi鈥檚 self-translations. Near the end of the conversation, Ngugi shares some of his favorite contemporary African authors, and explains why it is easier to remember childhood than anything else.

Table of contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 00:54 - Orly Castel-Bloom鈥檚听Textile
  • 02:22 - Mircea Ca虇rta虇rescu鈥檚听Blinding, Book 1: The Left Wing
  • 06:56 - Rodrigo Rey Rosa鈥檚听The African Shore
  • 08:41 - Marcos Giralt Torrente鈥檚听The End of Love
  • 12:11 - Daniel Medin introduces Ngugi wa Thiong鈥檕
FEATURE: Daniel Medin interviews Ngugi wa Thiong鈥檕
  • 13:36 -听The question of language and genre
  • 18:35 -听Choosing to work in Gikuyu and inventing a literary tradition
  • 26:06 -听Contemporary African writing in colonial and non-colonial languages; economic and political challenges to distribution
  • 42:51 -听The importance of translation and self-translation
  • 51:08 -听Dreams in a Time of War听and听In the House of the Interpreter
  • 1:00:00 -听Some of Ngugi鈥檚 favorite contemporary African authors
That Other Word - Episode 13 | E.J. Van Lanen

As the year comes to a close, hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito discuss some recent and unexpected favorite reads. As a judge for next year鈥檚 Best Translated Book Award, Daniel Medin recommends Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq鈥檚听, a four-volume, nineteenth-century classic of the Arab world whose cleverness and savage sense of humor has been likened to Rabelais and Sterne. Scott Esposito looks forward to Wies艂aw My艣liwski鈥檚听; the author鈥檚听Stone Upon Stone听received the BTBA last year. Hilda Hilst鈥檚听, in an especially brilliant translation by John Keene, prompts an exploration of scandalous writing: Hilst has been called the 鈥淢arquis de Sade of Brazil.鈥 The hosts then make an exception to the podcast鈥檚 theme to praise an English-language novel, Ivan Vladislavi膰鈥檚听听and its introduction by Teju Cole, from which Daniel Medin reads a paragraph. The introduction wraps up with Jung Young-moon鈥檚听, an eccentric collection of short stories from Dalkey Archive鈥檚 Korean library.

After that, Scott Esposito speaks with E.J. Van Lanen, a former editor at Open Letter and now publisher at听, a new translation press based in Berlin. Frisch & Co. is unique in that it publishes exclusively e-books, drawing on the catalogues of some of Europe鈥檚 oldest and most respected publishers for its translations. E.J. Van Lanen explains the reasons behind choosing Berlin as a base and e-books as a product, and discusses his own history of reading electronically (and divulging his favorite e-reading software in the process). He then details several aspects of his publishing venture, from his relationships with the European presses, translators, and authors, to pricing and the online market, to the challenges of distribution and attracting readers. Near the end of the conversation, he speaks about some of Frisch & Co.鈥檚 first titles: Anna Kim鈥檚听, which examines an unplanned mass suicide in Greenland; Carlos Busqued鈥檚听, about a man鈥檚 descent into a criminal world in northern Argentina, plus Adri谩n N. Bravi鈥檚听听and other forthcoming novels: Elisa Ruotolo鈥檚听, Joaqu铆n P茅rez Aza煤stre鈥檚听, and Uwe Tellkamp鈥檚听.

Table of contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 00:57 - Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq鈥檚 Leg Over Leg
  • 03:18 - Wies艂aw My艣liwski鈥檚 A Treatise on Shelling Beans
  • 04:26 - Hilda Hilst鈥檚 Letters from a Seducer
  • 08:40 - Ivan Vladislavi膰鈥檚 Double Negative
  • 12:14 - Jung Young-moon鈥檚 A Most Ambiguous Sunday, and Other Stories
FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews E.J. Van Lanen
  • 18:56 - Introductions; choosing Berlin and e-books
  • 25:05 - Relationships with European presses and translators
  • 37:26 - The e-reading experience
  • 42:35 - Pricing e-books; choosing and distributing titles
  • 58:11 - Frisch & Co.鈥檚 titles
That Other Word - Episode 14 | Deborah Smith

February 2014

This month, hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito are sorry to have to finish听, a deeply impressive book that re-imagines Wuthering Heights in postwar Japan. Through the brand new translations of听, they enjoy re-discovering the honored classics of the French and Japanese traditions respectively.听听offers a surreal science fiction romp from the Russian writers who inspired Andrei Tarkovsky鈥檚 Stalker, while the essays in听听examine the surreal, the pessimistic, and the hilarious, from the former Yugoslavia into Europe and beyond.

In the second part of the episode, Daniel Medin speaks with Deborah Smith, a translator from Korean to English based in London. Smith gives a fascinating overview of the history of Korean fiction, including its particular formal and generic development in the twentieth century, and describes the major characteristics 鈥 and appeal 鈥 of contemporary Korean literature, to her mind one of the world鈥檚 finest and most consistently robust. The conversation then moves onto Jung Young-moon, one of the oddest but best-respected writers working in Korea today, whose collection of short stories, A Most Ambiguous Sunday, was recently published as part of Dalkey Archive Press鈥 Library of Korean Literature. Jung Young-moon is followed by Han Kang, whose novel The Vegetarian (forthcoming in Smith鈥檚 translation) is a clever, politically sensitive triptych revolving around one woman鈥檚 decision to give up eating meat.

Table of contents
INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito
  • 0:50 Minae Mizumura鈥檚 A True Novel
  • 5:34 Honor茅 de Balzac鈥檚 The Human Comedy: Selected Stories
  • 8:02 Natsume Soseki鈥檚 Light and Dark
  • 10:34 Arkady and Boris Strugatsky鈥檚 Definitely Maybe
  • 12:34 Dubravka Ugre拧i膰鈥檚 Europe in Sepia
FEATURE: Daniel Medin interviews Deborah Smith
  • 15:24 Introductions; first acquaintance with the Korean language and literature
  • 18:19 Characteristics of contemporary Korean literature
  • 22:13 Jung Young-moonand the Dalkey Archive series
  • 29:56 Han Kang and The Vegetarian