The University of Iowa

Literary Translation Workshop

The MFA program in Literary Translation combines creative practice, international literature in-the-making, with training in world languages, literatures and theory.

Program News

Five Reads for Friday: Oct 23, 2020

5Q Interview: Shene Mohammed, MFA candidate in Literary Translation

Five Reads for Friday: Sept 25, 2020

5Q Interview: Mallory Truckenmiller Saylor, Literary Translation

5Q Interview: David M. Smith, Translation MFA Candidate

Program Highlights

   Founded in 1965

✚   Alums have won The Best Translated Book Award for Poetry, National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowships, Pen/Heim grants, GABO Prize, Baltic Center translation residencies among others

   Students have won asymptote journal’s Close Approximations best poetry translation awards, ASSA fellowships to study Hindi or Urdu in India, University’s Stanley Research Travel Grants 

   Inaugurated the nation’s first university-based Translator in Residency Program, hosting Katie Silver, Liz Harris, Lisa Katz, and Mann-Booker winner Deborah Smith 

   The online journal, Exchanges, with two-issues-per-year, provides hands on training in editing and managing a literary publication, featuring a blog, book reviews and podcasts

Translation Workshop

Beginning with the country's first translation workshop over fifty years ago, literary translation has long been an integral part of the conversation about writing at the University of Iowa. The MFA program in Literary Translation combines creative practice, international literature in-the-making, with training in world languages, literatures and theory. In a given year, it is not unusual for the student cohort to translate from six or more source languages into English. They have increased the number of international students in the program to emphasize the multilingualism of both the global literary community and the translators who help move literature across the globe. Currently, they enroll students from eight different countries besides the USA (German, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Bulgarian, Romanian, Brazil, Sudan).  The workshop, in turn, has become a living laboratory of global exchange, and provides a useful corrective to the notions of hegemonic primacy or uniformity of English.

They have introduced a new Translator-in-Residence program, hosting each semester an expert literary translator who leads a five-week translation workshop for their students, and become more systematic and intentional in mentoring students for international education opportunities.  Since 2014, ten of their MFALT students have received university or national grants (Stanleys, Japan Foundation, CAPS, AIIS) for summer research in Germany, Algeria/France, Cuba, Japan, India, Taiwan, Mexico and Italy; two of their students were Fulbright semi-finalists, and two other students have received Fulbright ETAs; one 2017 graduate is currently holding residency in the Baltic Center.

111 Phillips Hall Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1323
Phone: 319-335-2923
Fax: 319-335-2990