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Tuesday, 15 December 2020 12:05

The Translation Memoir/Translation as Memoir, 9 July 2021

An Online Symposium 

Friday 9th of July 2021 

followed by Q&A with guest of honour Kate Briggs

Organiser: Dr. Delphine Grass This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view


The translation memoir can be defined as a reflexive writing practice on the personal and political intersection between identity and translation. Recent years have seen a boom in the publications of translation memoirs, with authors in the genre encompassing translators such as Kate Briggs (2017), Mireille Gansel (2012), Corinna Gepner (2019), Gregory Rabassa (2005) and Jennifer Croft (2019). These have engaged critical-creative reflections on the affective, political and transcultural work of translating literary texts, questioning the literary conventions which separate reading and writing, writing and translation. The translation memoir has also participated in a wider postmodern philosophical shift in the rethinking of identity and autobiography [Karpinsky 2012], engaging a form of authorial self-retrieval from within the dominant identity discourses of authorship, nationality, gender and the self. By highlighting the fluidity of national and cultural identities, translation memoirs investigate otherness from the perspective of translation, interrogating the limits of national and gender identity through the practice of rewriting the text and the self in other languages. The practice of translation as memoir, which can be found in such works as Anne Carson’s Nox for example, but also in the creative critical practice of Clive Scott, often engages a wider reflection on the relationship between translation and memory, translation and the survival of the text. What sets the translation memoir apart from other memoirs? What translation theories, what forms of literary criticism have paved the way for the boom in translation-memoir writing we are witnessing today?  

Participants are invited to give papers which explore any aspect of the translation memoir as a creative and philosophical investigation of the self through translation, but also on the practice of translation as memoir. Critical-creative investigations of the subject are also welcome. As well as analysing the translation memoir as a form of self-authorization of the translator as writer, participants are invited to reflect more widely on the impact of the translation memoir on the fields of translation studies, philosophy and life writing. What unauthorized identities are being mediated by translation metaphors in the translation memoir? What new ways of thinking about identity can emerge from rethinking the self in relation to translation?  

Participants in the conference will have the opportunity to publish their papers in a special issue of Life Writing on the translation memoir.

Please email your abstracts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with ‘Translation Memoir Abstract’ as subject heading. 

Deadline for abstract submission: 

15th of January 2021 

For more information, click here

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