UIC poet’s translation wins PEN America Literary Award
The English-language version of Paula Ilabaca Nuñez’s “The Loose Pearl” was translated from Spanish by Borzutzky, who was among a select group of writers and translators honored for their exemplary works during a March 2 ceremony in New York City.
In the judges’ citation, he is credited for a “courageous translation” that “moves through the prose and the poetic, acutely, to bring us closer to the vulnerability of language. With such risks, he takes translation into a new direction, opening a new conversation around the practice and the choice of the translator.”
Actor and translator Molly Ringwald presented the award to Borzutzky, UIC associate professor of English and Latin American and Latino studies.
“I feel like my entire childhood is redefined to find out Molly Ringwald is a translator,” he said.
Borzutzky’s previous honors include the National Book Award for his 2016 collection “The Performance of Becoming Human.” His most recent publications are “Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018” and “Lake Michigan,” which was a finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. His work has been supported with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN/Heim Translation Fund and the Illinois Arts Council.
Founded in 1922, PEN America is a nonprofit organization that works to defend and celebrate free expression in the United States and worldwide through the advancement of literature and human rights.