Yuri Herrera and Daniel Alarcón in Conversation [EVENT]


Join us on April 13 as the Two Voices event series presents Mexican writer Yuri Herrera in conversation with Daniel Alarcón at Green Apple Books on the Park. This is your chance to see the author Francisco Goldman calls “Mexico’s greatest novelist.”

Herrera and Alarcón will discuss Herrera’s momentous debut in English, the novel Signs Preceding the End of the World. Translated by Lisa Dillman and published by And Other Stories, Signs Preceding the End of the World is Herrera’s exploration of the complicated crossings people make as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back.

This is personal for us, as Issue 22 of Two Lines contains an excerpt of Signs. Daniel Alarcón is also a name familiar to us, not only as the author of At Night We Walk in Circles and Lost City Radio but also as a previous event collaborator (not to mention raving our Santiago Roncagliolo title).

About Yuri, Daniel has said, “Signs Preceding the End of the World is a masterpiece, a haunting and moving allegory about violence and the culture built to support and celebrate that violence. Of the writers of my generation, the one I most admire is Yuri Herrera.”

Here are all the details:

  • Monday, April 13, 2015
  • 7:30 PM
  • Green Apple Books on the Park
  • 1231 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
  • FREE!

Here are bios for the guests:

Born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970, Yuri Herrera received an MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso and a PhD from UC Berkeley. Signs Preceding the End of the World (Señales que precederán al fin del mundo) was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos Prize and is being published in several languages. In 2013 he published La transmigración de los cuerpos, which will be published in English in 2016. He is currently teaching at the University of Tulane, in New Orleans.

Daniel Alarcón’s books include War by Candlelight, a finalist for the 2005 PEN-Hemingway Award, and Lost City Radio, named a Best Novel of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post. He is executive producer of Radio Ambulante, a Spanish language narrative journalism podcast. In 2010 The New Yorker named him one of the best 20 Writers Under 40, and his most recent novel, At Night We Walk in Circles, was a finalist for the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award.

AUDIO: Two Voices Salon with Michael Reynolds and Ann Goldstein on Elena Ferrante


On Thursday, March 19, Elena Ferrante’s translator Ann Goldstein and her editor Michael Reynolds of Europa Editions graced Two Lines Offices with their presence and conversation. Ann is currently in the midst of translating the fourth and last volume of Ferrante’s acclaimed Neapolitan Novels, and she is also almost done editing (and partially translating) the complete works of Primo Levi. She is an editor at The New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award. Author and editor Michael Reynolds has himself translated Carlo Lucarelli’s De Luca series, children’s fiction by Wolf Erlbruch and Altan, and Daniele Mastrogiacomo’s Days of Fear.

The conversation between Michael, Ann, moderator Scott Esposito and Salon attendees includes first experiences of Ferrante’s work, translator invisibility, and a discussion on dialectics and the translation process. Tune in to hear personal insights about Neapolitan culture, history, and Ann and Michael’s experiences with working on the famed series.


00:00 Introductions & opening discussion question—what have you all been reading in translation?

05:15 Ann Goldstein’s Primo Levi translation and editing project

07:28 The role of the the Neapolitan dialect in Ferrante’s work, and translation questions

14:38 Ferrante as an “Italian author”

18:55 Ferrante’s style, dialect, and questions of accessibility

21:33 Michael’s and Ann’s first experiences with Ferrante’s work

26:35 How was the four-book series format conceived? Was it a whole novel to begin with or did Ferrante present it as four novels?

28:28 There’s a cliffhanger aspect to the end of each volume. Is that something Ferrante worked on with her Italian publisher?

29:53 The role of Naples as a place in Ferrante’s writing

33:04 Ann’s choice to leave the Italian word stradone in the original

37:15 Discussing the ideas of Naples as a metropolis that anticipates decline, and the feeling of being trapped in a place

41:10 Do you think Ferrante’s a writer of place? Are her other books big on place and the role that plays in the evolution of an individual?

43:31 The translator’s invisibility/visibility, with regards to Ferrante’s wish to be invisible herself

48:12 How the author is often not the best person to ask about their work

53:33 Ann’s approach to translating

56:02 With a writer like Ferrante, whom you’ve [Ann] translated a lot, do you feel like you’ve developed a certain relationship to the style?

56:39 Michael’s role in the process of translation

59:30 Differences between the feel of Ferrante in Italian and in English, and risks Ann has taken as a translator of these books

1:06:50 The role of the Aeneid in the Neapolitan Novels and Ferrante’s engagement with the classics

1:11:00 What do you think of the rumors about her books being written by men?

1:15:15 Have you two interacted with Ferrante?

1:15:30 How have the books been received in Naples and in Italy?

1:19:50 What’s the impact of the book on people in Naples?

1:20:20 Is Ferrante working on anything new?

1:21:01 Could you talk about some of your favorite moments from the books?

1:26:18 Can I get an idea of the kind of research and consultants that you might call upon for some local details about Naples?

1:28:16 What Europa looks for in books, and how Ferrante fits into this

2 Two Lines Press Titles Make PEN Translation Longlist (And An Offer for You!)


We are very proud to say that two titles from our 2014 catalog have made the 10-title longlist for the PEN Translation Awards. These two titles are Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt, translated by Denise Newman, and Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye, translated by Jordan Stump.

We are amazed and humbled for so many reasons—first of all, this means that fully 2/3 of the titles we published in 2014 have been longlisted. In addition, we are in the company of the amazing Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NYRB Classics as the only publishers on the list to have 2 titles each! And this is to say nothing of the brilliant writers and translators whose ranks we join on the longlist.

Unlike the Best Translated Book Award, PEN considers everything that is published in a given year for its Translation Award (the BTBAs only do books that have never been translated before). This means that their shortlist was taken from out of well over 500 titles, and included some heavy hitters like Anna Karenina (translated by the formidable Marian Schwartz).

In addition, PEN also released its longlist for its Poetry in Translation Prize, which includes some dazzling talent: Marilyn Hacker for Venus Khoury-Ghata, Pierre Joris for Paul Celan, Yvette Siegert for Alejandra Pizarnik, and Edith Grossman for Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, among the others.

We’re very thrilled to share this news, and we would like to offer you a little incentive to pick these titles up.

A 2014 subscription costs just $30, which is only slightly more than you would pay to purchase these books in a bookstore. On top of that, we will throw in a free copy of our beautiful, letterpressed broadside, created by Jan Steyn, which we were previously only giving out to 2015 subscribers. And, of course, in addition to all that you get Running Through Beijing by Xu Zechen (beautifully translated by Eric Abrahamsen) and Issue 21 of Two Lines, packed with amazing things like Johannes Göransson’s essay “A Wash of Mimicry,” Natasha Wimmer’s translation of Marcos Giralt Torrente, and Martha Cooley and Antonio Romani’s translation of Antonio Tabucchi.

We are offering this bonus through the end of the month. So if you are interested in reading our two PEN Translation Prize finalists, and getting the broadside, please waste no time in ordering your subscription.

Two Lines Release Party — Photos / Erasures

We all had a fantastic time at Viracocha last week, featuring readings by local translators/authors Daniel Levin Becker, Yael Segalovitz, and Andrea Lingenfelter, plus our own Jessica Sevey.

In addition, Viracocha liked our books so much, that they decided to sell them in the store—so if you’re in the Mission, drop by and get yourself some Two Lines Press product.

In keeping with the beautiful beautiful erasure that Jan Steyn has created for 2015 subscribers, we invited attendees to create their own erasures out of select pages from Issue 22 of Two Lines (in stores now!!). Below you’ll find some of our favorites of the evening, plus some candid photos.


Erasure created by Anonymous


Erasure created by Emily Shapiro


Erasure created by Betsy


Erasure created by Andrea Lingenfelter


Erasure created by Baraka


Erasure created by Daniel Levin Becker




Two Lines Press’s Marthine Satris talking to reader Yael Segalovitz



An erasure in the midst of creation



Checking out Issue 22



Center for the Art of Translation Executive Director Michael Holtmann MCing the evening



Translator and author Daniel Levin Becker reading from his translation in Issue 22


Many thanks to the Center’s Sarah Coolidge for taking photos of the event.

Presenting: The 2015 Erasure


Friends and colleagues of Two Lines Press!

Back in fall of last year, we were thinking of ways to let our subscribers know that they had chosen to support a press that champions really exceptional, forward-looking, just plain incredible translations. We wanted to make a beautiful, fascinating gift to give to each of you.

At right about the same time, we were in the middle of planning this Edouard Levé event with translators Lorin Stein and Jan Stein.

At some point it hit us: Levé was exactly the kind of author to get this point across. The answer was simple: let’s do something with Levé, involving the man who recommended that he be translated, and who, in fact, has translated the most of him into English: Jan Steyn.

Unfortunately, things turned out to not be so simple. Because of copyright difficulties, working with Levé’s texts was out. But we still had Jan.

And the fact is, that Jan also perfectly embodied our hopes for this project. He is a fierce champion of innovative writing, he knows a hell of a lot about world literature, and he’s a beautifully talented translator and prose stylist.

So—the answer was simple: give Jan free reign to manipulate a (public domain) text as he saw fit. The only requirement was that translate be involved.

What he came up with is an following erasure that we are in the penultimate stages of unveiling to you all (see image above).

When we are finished printing it in its 3 colors it will be called “Saint-Beuve Over a Crackling Phone Line” and it will be an erasure/translation from French, into Afrikaans, into English.

We’ll be showing them at our launch on March 11, and one can be yours if you subscribe to our 2015 list.