Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Austin pix

Pix by Esther Diaz.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Austin still ahead -- thank you, Miami!

Just finishing a longish stay in Miami with family and am headed to Austin, Texas, next for an event that promises to be amazing. The Austin Area Translators and Interpreters Association is sponsoring a public conversation Saturday, January 8, at 7 p.m. at the Mexican American Cultural Center on 600 River St. to discuss my new translation of Ena Lucia Portela's Cien botellas en una pared, published by the University of Texas Press as One Hundred Bottles.

The association keeps flooding my inbox with articles and notices so I know they're getting the word out.

And I confess, again, I have been a bit nervous. How to present a translation? My previous experiences have been with Junot Diaz and my Spanish version of his Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but we'd done those together in New York and Chicago.With Ena Lucia in Havana with no chance of crossing the Straits of Florida, I'm pretty much on my own with this book.

Luckily, we got a bit of dress rehearsal for Austin in Miami. My most fave bookstore in the city, Books & Books in Miami Beach, had me present the translation last week. And to my delight and surprise, Eduardo Aparicio, the Cuban-American writer and photographer who'll present me in Austin, showed up with his dad in tow.

Wisely -- and before I'd even shown up -- the folks at Books & Books asked him to introduce me at this reading as well, so both of us got to rehearse a bit. His intro was way over the top -- but then Eduardo and I go way, way back. In fact, when I was just finding my way in Chicago about 30 years ago, I did some freelance interpreting and Eduardo was the golden boy (appropriately so!) at one of the agencies that used to give me work now and again.

What I ended up doing in Miami, and hope to repeat in Austin, is reading from both the English and the Spanish, but not exactly tit for tat. I'm using an overlapping style -- reading paragraph A in Spanish, then paragraphs A & B in English, then paragraphs B & C in Spanish and so on. The idea is that each time I switch languages, there's new material for whomever is monolingual.

It seemed to go over well here in the tropics. This morning, I woke up to a half page article in El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language partner paper of the The Miami Herald, that gave the reading a big thumbs. If you read Spanish, you can find the link here.