Translating Seamus Heaney: Celebration of Literature in Translation

Posted on: 17 April 2013

Seamus Heaney celebrated literature in translation in an evening of readings of his poetry in Trinity College Chapel on Thursday, March 11th as part of Trinity Week. Listen to a podcast of the event here.

The event marked the public launch of the Centre for Literary Translation, which has been established to develop, promote and support literary translation. It is a three-way partnership between the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland Literature Exchange and the Dalkey Archive Press.

Seamus Heaney was joined by six of his long-standing translators in a reading of his poetry in English, Polish, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Hungarian. Led by Seamus Heaney, translators Grigory Kruzhkov (Russia), Pura López-Colomé (Mexico), András Imreh (Hungary), Francesca Romana Paci (Italy) and Jerzy Jarniewicz (Poland) read a selection of Heaney’s poems. Seamus Heaney also read his English translation of the Irish language poem An Bonnán Buí by Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna.

The evening also featured brief presentations from Seamus Heaney’s Italian editor Anna Ravano, Acting Director of the Centre for Literary Translation and Associate Professor in Russian Dr Sarah Smyth and the Director of Ireland Literature Exchange, Sinéad MacAodha.

Pictured at Translating Seamus Heaney event are: Back  row (left to right) András Imreh (Hungary), Jerzy Jarniewicz (Poland), Sinead MacAodha, Grigory Kruzhkov (Russia), Sarah Smyth. Front row (left to right) Francesca Romana Paci (Italy), Pura Lopez-Colomé (Mexico), Seamus Heaney, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Anna Ravano 

The new Centre brings together theorists and practitioners of translation with professionals from the world of editing, publishing and marketing to provide support to literary translators at each stage of their career. It will bring the best of international literature to Irish readers and, through the work of Ireland Literature Exchange, will continue to bring the finest of Irish literature to readers around the world. Ireland Literature Exchange has already supported the translation of 1,500 works of Irish literature into 51 languages, including 25 titles into Chinese, 150 into French and 35 into Polish. 44 foreign literary translators have been hosted on residential bursaries in Ireland.

Commenting on the occasion of the public launch of the Centre, poet and TCD Fellow Emeritus Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, formerly of the School of English and currently member of the Board of Ireland Literature Exchange, said: “The work of the literary translator often goes unseen and unacknowledged and yet without them the books to which we would have access would be drastically reduced.  Translating works from and into the languages of Ireland, translators build bridges between Ireland and the rest of the world and are central figures in the enrichment of our shared cultural heritage.”

Director of Ireland Literature Exchange, Sinéad MacAodha added: “Ireland Literature Exchange brings the best of Irish literature to readers around the world. We are delighted to celebrate our new strategic partnership with the Centre for Literary Translation in Trinity College. We look forward to working with the Centre to create many new and original translation projects which will present the work of Ireland’s excellent authors and our dynamic and ever-changing literary scene to book-lovers around the world.”

News Coverage:

RTE 1, Nine News, Thursday, April 11, 2013

RTE Radio 1, Morning Ireland, Friday, April 12, 2013

Irish Independent, Friday, April 12, 2013, Early birthday gift for ‘lucky’ Heaney at reading.

Irish Times, Friday, April 19, 2013, A translator’s life: chasing black cats in a black room in pursuit of the art of losses