'Spinning an illusion': what exactly do literary translators do?
Three translators take us through their work, including the ethical, aesthetic and political considerations in literary translation and their relationship with authors
International Booker Prize 2024 Judge
Aaron Robertson is a writer, editor and translator from Italian
Robertson’s translation of Igiaba Scego’s novel, Beyond Babylon (Two Lines Press, 2019), was shortlisted for the 2019 PEN Translation Prize and the National Translation Award. In 2021 he received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to support his translation of Giulia Caminito’s The Big A. He has served on the board of the American Literary Translators Association and is currently an advisory editor for The Paris Review. His debut book, The Black Utopians, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2024. Robertson has been a contributor to two books, The Heart of a Stranger: An Anthology of Exile Literature (Pushkin Press, 2019) and Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation (Tilted Axis Press, 2022). His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Foreign Policy, n+1, The Point, Literary Hub and elsewhere. His writing has received support from the Robert B. Silvers Foundation, the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University and the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.
Robertson is a writer, translator, and editor at Spiegel & Grau in New York, and is a judge for the International Booker Prize 2024.