Tuesday, 12:30 pm EDT April 20, 2021
Online via Zoom
A panel of Japanese-to-English literary translators joins us to celebrate the launch of science-fiction legend Izumi Suzuki’s first English-translated book. Terminal Boredom is a collection of unique, speculative short stories that capture Suzuki’s singular voice.
The late author was a countercultural icon, centering her writing on themes of gender and the danger of technological attachment. Panelists Sam Bett, Morgan Giles, Daniel Joseph, Margaret Mitsutani, and Helen O’Horan will discuss the timeliness of these themes as well as the widening body of Japanese-to-English translations.
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Sam Bett is a writer and Japanese translator. Awarded Grand Prize in the 2016 JLPP International Translation Competition, he won the 2019/2020 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for his translation of Star by Yukio Mishima (New Directions, 2019). Sam has translated fiction by Yoko Ogawa, NISIOISIN and Keigo Higashino as well as essays by Banana Yoshimoto, Haruomi Hosono and Toshiyuki Horie. He is also a founder and host of Us&Them, a quarterly Brooklyn-based reading series showcasing the work of writers who translate. With David Boyd, he is cotranslating the novels of Mieko Kawakami for Europa Editions.
Morgan Giles is a Japanese-English literary translator. Her translation of Yu Miri’s Tokyo Ueno Station won the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature and the Translators Association’s First Translation Prize. Born and raised in Kentucky, she now lives in London.
Daniel Joseph is a translator, editor, musician, and science fiction enthusiast. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University in medieval Japanese literature, and has translated works ranging from the eleventh century to the twenty-first. His current translation projects include stories by punk singer-turned-author Kō Machida (some of which have appeared in Granta and Epiphany) and a memoir by outsider folk singer Kazuki Tomokawa (forthcoming from Blank Forms).
Margaret Mitsutani was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the College of Wooster in 1974. She has lived in Japan since the late 1970s and holds an MA in comparative literature from Tokyo University. In addition to Yoko Tawada, she has translated the works of Kyōko Hayashi, Kenzaburō Ōe, and Mitsuyo Kakuta.
Helen O’Horan is an artist based in London. She currently works in film and television as an independent linguist. “That Old Seaside Club” is her first published piece of translated fiction.
By Izumi Suzuki
Published by Verso Books
Translated by Polly Barton, Sam Bett, David Boyd, Daniel Joseph, Aiko Masubuchi, and Helen O’Horan
The first English language publication of the work of Izumi Suzuki, a legend of Japanese science fiction and a countercultural icon
At turns nonchalantly hip and charmingly deranged, Suzuki’s singular slant on speculative fiction would be echoed in countless later works, from Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami, to Black Mirror and Ex Machina. In these darkly playful and punky stories, the fantastical elements are always earthed by the universal pettiness of strife between the sexes, and the gritty reality of life on the lower rungs, whatever planet that ladder might be on.
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