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The Translator’s Craft: Ani Gjika on Translating Albanian Literature

April 30, 2022, 12:00 PM1:00 PM EDT

Ani Gjika is among the most prolific and renowned translators of contemporary Albanian literature today. Translator of a wide range of Albanian authors, sensibilities, and literary genres, and a poet herself, her work is a testament to the versatility, cultural mediation or brokering, and nimbleness that is central to the translator’s craft. In this conversation with Gjika, we will discuss some of her most recent translations, including Julia Gjika’s Memories Pretend to Sleep (Laertes, 2020), and Luljeta Lleshanaku’s Negative Space (New Directions, 2018), and will address the particular considerations that go into Albanian-to-English translation, and the translator’s role in making legible and advocating for “minor” cultures and languages in the global literary arena.

Ani Gjika is an Albanian-born writer, literary translator, educator, and author of eight books and chapbooks of poetry. Her translation of Luljeta Lleshanaku’s Negative Space (2018) was shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize. She’s a recipient of several awards and fellowships including the NEA, English PEN, the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship and, most recently, Restless Books’ 2021 Prize for New Immigrant Writing.