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New Series Announcement: Global Black Writers in Translation

Vanderbilt University Press Director Gianna Mosser is proud to announce the launch of a new trade series, Global Black Writers in Translation. “In an urgent time of global change, we need to heighten the ways we share scholarship and literary writing by promoting the act of translation,” Mosser said. “This new series takes as its foundation the type of foreign-language training that Vanderbilt University has stewarded, where intellectual curiosity meets cultural exploration, and applies it to the world of translated literature from the global Black diaspora. We are also building on recent VU Press strengths in the field of translated literature to bring this initiative forward.” In 2022, Amalia Gladhart was awarded the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Translation Prize for her English-language edition of Angélica Gorodischer’s Jaguars Tomb, a novel in three parts that addresses the abductions and disappearances during the Argentine military dictatorship of 1976–83, published by VUP in 2021. This new initiative will require the expansion of Vanderbilt University Press’s existing networks of international publishers, with an eye toward developing books well suited to courses on literature, history, race, gender, and justice.

Series editors Nathan H. Dize (WUSTL), Annette Joseph-Gabriel (Duke), and Vanessa K. Valdés (CCNY) all obtained PhDs in foreign-language programs at Vanderbilt: Dize and Joseph-Gabriel both studied French, and Valdés studied Spanish and Portuguese. As a series team, their combined expertise across multiple language traditions—as well as their scholarship in fields such as Afro-Latinx studies, Black Internationalism, translation studies, cultural history, and critical theory—heightens the immediate reach and impact of the series aims. They plan to use the series platform to facilitate global knowledge-sharing about critical translation and to promote meaningful connections with publishers committed to the work of Black writers: “Our goal is to amplify through translation a body of writing that introduces anglophone readers to the range and complexity of Black literary and cultural production, history, and political thought,” the editors said. “This series would not be possible without the teaching and scholarship produced by foreign language programs that remain in peril as humanities programs continue to be defunded throughout the country.”

In the wake of COVID-19, Vanderbilt University has renewed efforts to foster global connections that benefit the intellectual life of the university. Vanderbilt University Press extends the university’s scholarly mission by publishing dynamic, well-researched books for a global audience of engaged readers. Global Black Writers in Translation will further the goals of both the university and the press by supporting high-quality literature and cross-cultural networks. Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, vice provost of arts and libraries and Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair in the Humanities, shared, “The launching of the series represents an auspicious moment for the press and university. I am delighted to say I’ve worked with all three editors in some capacity. As scholars, they’ve all done incredibly cutting-edge research in their respective fields, particularly in Black diaspora studies. There is something immensely gratifying and celebratory in having them helm this new series.”

Each volume in the series will include critical front matter that highlights the translator’s craft and discusses the enduring value of the work. When appropriate, titles will be published as bilingual editions to foster cross-linguistic conversation. The first series titles are anticipated in 2025.

About the Series Editors

Vanessa K. Valdés is the author and editor of six books, all of which center the cultural and intellectual production of Black peoples in the Atlantic world. She serves as the Associate Provost for Community Engagement at The City College of New York.

Annette Joseph-Gabriel is the John Spencer Bassett Associate Professor of Romance Studies and associate professor of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Duke University. She is the author of Reimagining Liberation: How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire, translated as Imaginer la liberation: Des femmes noires face à l’empire.

Nathan H. Dize is an assistant professor of French at Washington University in Saint Louis. He has published translations of fiction, poetry, and prose from French and Haitian Creole by acclaimed Haitian writers Jean D’Amérique, Kettly Mars, James Noël, Makenzy Orcel, Évelyne and Lyonel Trouillot, among others.

For more information about Global Black Writers in Translation, including submission guidelines, please visit our series page.

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