A Universe with No Edges: Swahili Literature in Translation
Thursday, March 9, 2023
3:20 pm to 4:35 pm
An African language of connectivity and diversity, Swahili is spoken across east Africa and the Indian Ocean. The Swahili literary tradition is centuries-old, yet little of it has been translated into English. Three translators and one editor discuss their contributions to contemporary translated Swahili literature, including the new collection No Edges: Swahili Stories from Two Lines Press, and efforts to make it more widely available with the director of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize.
Munyao Kilolo is a writer and translator. He is the founder and editor in chief of Ituĩka - A Literary platform devoted to African languages and translation and is director of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature. He previously served as the managing editor of Jalada Africa.
Jay Boss Rubin is a writer and translator from Portland, Oregon. He's an MFA student at Queens College, concentrating in literary translation, and a recipient of a 2022 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. He's currently revising his translation of the Swahili novel ROSA MISTIKA, by Euphrase Kezilahabi.
Richard Prins has lived, worked, studied, and recorded music in Dar es Salaam. His poems, essays, and translations of Swahili poetry have appeared in publications such as Gulf Coast, jubilat, and Ploughshares, and received “Notable” mentions in Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing.
Kelsey McFaul is a member of the editorial staff at Two Lines Press and a PhD candidate in literature at UC Santa Cruz, where she studies African literature. As a Humanities Institute Public Fellow in 2020–21, she worked with Two Lines to support and publish Swahili writers and translators.