Jennifer Croft won the 2018 Man Booker International Prize for her translation from Polish of Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. She has also received NEA, Cullman, PEN, Fulbright, and MacDowell fellowships and grants, as well as the inaugural Michael Henry Heim Prize for Translation, the 2018 Found in Translation Award and a Tin House Scholarship for her novel Homesick, originally written in Spanish, forthcoming in English from Unnamed Press in September and in Spanish from Entropía in 2020. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University and an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa. (August 2019)
What is translation if not an intimate act between two people, away from the eyes of the world? It might be the mirth of two sisters, suppressed at table: a mutual tautening, hands flitting to faces until the effect of the secret subsides. It might be an embrace. It might even be an angry struggle. The nature of the relationship between translator and writer depends on the text. But it is always a close one. I wanted Sylwia Siedlecka—whose circumstances seemed so near my own: she was about my age, also a linguist and an academic—to teach me the balancing act she had already mastered, wanted to get inside her defter imagination to plumb my own heartbreak. I decided to translate her book.