Lit_cast Slovakia with Julia Sherwood
A similar podcast in German entitled LIT_CAST Slowakei is available via the Literary Information Center website.
photo by Marina Akinshina
Kicking off the series of podcasts, Donald Rayfield discusses the challenges of publishing translated literature, translating Russian, Georgian and Uzbek literature, and draws parallels between Peter Pišťanek and Quentin Tarantino, and Ján Johanides and Hilary Mantel.
photo by Kateřina Chitnis
Rajendra Chitnis talks about teaching Czech and Slovak in the UK, why Vladimír Mečiar was good for Slovak literature and Franz Kafka is the biggest problem for literatures of small European countries. Also: is knowledge of history needed to understand older Slovak literature and would the world think as highly of Milan Kundera if Ján Johanides had been translated into English.
In the third episode of Lit_cast Slovakia, literature scholar and translator Magdalena Mullek talks with Julia Sherwood about living between three countries and multiple languages, the joys of translating living authors, cooperative translating, and forging relationships with publishers.
photo by Adriana Raducanu
In Lit_cast Slovakia #4, American literary scholar and translator Charles Sabatos talks to Julia Sherwood about searching for his Slovak roots, University of Pittsburgh’s Slovak Studies Program and the legacy of Martin Votruba, about translating Pavel Vilikovský’s Ever Green Is... — “a side-splitting satire on totalitarianism, spy mania, Slovaks and nationalism,” as well as about translating Dominik Tatarka and Gejza Vámoš.
photo courtesy of family archive
In Lit_cast Slovakia #5, world traveler and translator Janet Livingstone talks to Julia Sherwood about reinventing herself in Seattle after living in Bratislava for 16 years, picking up foreign languages, translating Slovak women writers, cultural differences between Europe and the US, and she praises the politeness of the Slovak people.
photo by Miriam Gurska
In Lit_cast Slovakia #6, Jonathan Gresty talks to Julia Sherwood about his British DNA and going native in Slovakia, about translating two very different books – Anton Baláž’s Camp of Fallen Women and Jana Bodnárová’s Necklace/Choker and explains what is skopos theory, and what is wrong with English-language information for tourists and why some Slovak books would benefit from some serious editing.
photo courtesy of family archive
In Lit_cast Slovakia #7, literature scholar Katarína Gephardt talks to Julia Sherwood about intrepid women travelers who helped shape an ambivalent image of Central and Eastern Europe in 19th-century Britain, about generational memory and productive nostalgia in the writing of Verona Šikulová and Maroš Krajňak, and about her plans for a Companion to Contemporary Slovak Literature.
photo courtesy of the author
In Lit_cast Slovakia #8, writer and journalist Michael Stein talks to Julia Sherwood about the Central European literary sensibility, the surreal sight of a tourist-free Prague, and the unforced surrealism in the writing of Uršuľa Kovalyk, as well as the subtle irony of Jana Juráňová. He also recommends his other favorite Slovak writers, Pavol Rankov, Dušan Mitana, Peter Karpinský, and Ondrej Štefánik.
photo by Renata Stewart
In Lit_cast Slovakia #9, Nataša Ďurovičová talks to Julia Sherwood about exile as the point of no return, reveals how creative writing came to be one of Iowa’s main exports alongside corn and pork, explains the different social needs fulfilled by creative writing in the U.S. and the rest of the world, and unpacks the writing and translation workshops at Iowa University.
In Lit_cast Slovakia #10, James Sutherland-Smith talks to Julia Sherwood about his own poetry and the intuitive link he feels with the poets he translates, why he doesn’t believe in creative infidelity, why he finds translating prose more difficult than poetry, and why he feels that being a man is not a hindrance to translating women poets.
photo by Jaro Ridzoň
In Lit_cast Slovakia #11, Slovak poet and translator Mária Ferenčuhová talks with Julia Sherwood how the pandemic has made her appreciate virtual literary events and has turned her from writing straight poetry to writing texts dealing with fragility. She also talks about aging and dying, about working in an interdisciplinary and intuitive way, about translating Michel Houellebecq, and about cooperative translation of poetry. And she offers recommendations of other Slovak poets, both who have been and who ought to be translated into English.
Sarah Hinlicky Wilson
photo by Andrew L. Wilson
In Lit_cast Slovakia #12, Lutheran pastor, publisher, editor, and blogger
Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, who grew up in the US and now lives in Japan, talks with Julia Sherwood about diving into the history of Slovakia and unearthing some forgotten gems in her quest to read every single Slovak novel available
in English. She explains her criteria for rating books, recommends her favorite Slovak works of literature, and unveils the most translated Slovak writer of all times.
photo by Christian Cermann
In Lit_cast Slovakia #13, translator Marie-Theres Cermann talks with Julia Sherwood about persuading German-language publishers to give Slovak writers a chance; about the joys and challenges of translating Balla, Marek Vadas, and Ivan Medeši; and about why she believes the plight of refugees remains relevant even during the pandemic.
photo by Kristína Brezinová Rídekyová
In Lit_cast Slovakia #14, translation studies scholar Ľudmila Pánisová talks with Julia Sherwood about the legacy of Professor Anton Popovič and about the need to treat the source text with respect. She welcomes the growing number of English translations of Slovak literature and suggests that more writing from the interwar and postwar periods, as well as crime stories and books for children and young adults, should be translated.
In Lit_cast Slovakia #15, translator John Minahane talks with Julia Sherwood about why a new English translation of the anti-war cycle The Bloody Sonnets was needed, and what their author, Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, has in common with the Russian futurist poet Velemir Khlebnikov. Minahane’s succinct and vivid characterizations of a range of Slovak writers from Ladislav Novomeský, Miroslav Válek, and Milan Rúfus; through Ivan Štrpka; to Ivan Kolenič and Peter Macsovszky are accompanied by spirited readings from his translations of their works.
photo by Christian Morales
In Lit_cast Slovakia #16, writer and translator Lucia Duero talks with Julia Sherwood about the chance encounter in Spain that led her from Slovakia
to Mexico and about navigating cultural differences between these two countries. She discusses her favorite Slovak poets whom she has introduced
to Spanish readers through her translations and to the Anglophone public through the journal Tupelo Quarterly. She also talks about the irrational criteria she uses to choose the authors she translates regardless of commercial considerations and why she enjoys translating without a contract with a publisher.
photo by Marika Majorová
In Lit_cast Slovakia #17, writer and editor Mária Modrovich talks with Julia Sherwood about the works of literature and cinema that have inspired her writing, about Slovak literary prizes and festivals, about the literary scene
in New York City, and about helping people to navigate the waters of Slovak literature through the website Books from Slovakia (main page and current catalog).
(These links are also available via our resources page.)
photo by Tatiana Liptáková
In Lit_cast Slovakia #18, literature scholar Ivana Taranenková talks with Julia Sherwood about the literary output of 2020, both by established and by emerging Slovak writers, and assesses the impact of the pandemic on the country’s literary life and on research. She introduces a forthcoming English-language guide to contemporary Slovak literature and discusses why Martin Kukučín is her favorite 19th century Slovak author.
Peter F. 'Rius Jílek
photo by Tibor Pokorný
In Lit_cast Slovakia #19, literary critic Peter F. 'Rius Jílek helps Julia Sherwood usher in 2021 in a conversation ranging from earthquakes and the pandemic to the importance of literary awards. He shares his experience of being on the jury of Anasoft Litera, explains why he doesn’t mince his words in his reviews, and calls for a sustained and better-funded campaign to promote Slovak literature abroad.
photo by Rafał Komorowski
In Lit_cast Slovakia #20, Polish translator and theater director Kasia Dudzic-Grabińska talks with Julia Sherwood about what she misses most about Slovakia and about her favorite Slovak theater companies, how she combines literary translation with theater work, why she objects to “pop Auschwitz” literature, and the challenge of finding hidden literary allusions in Milo Janáč’s alcohol-fueled novella.
photo by Luboš Pilc
In Lit_cast Slovakia #21, the award-winning writer and journalist Irena Brežná talks with Julia Sherwood about rebelling against the dogma of writing in her native language, the importance of maintaining an outsider’s perspective, and avoiding the trap of assimilation. She also talks about her political birth during the Prague Spring of 1968, and about combining writing with activism as well as feminism.
photo by Márton Nagy
In Lit_cast Slovakia #22, Hungarian literary organizer Éva Karádi talks
with Julia Sherwood about championing European, and more specifically Slovak, literature, and about which Slovak writers have made their mark in Hungary.
She explains how editing the Hungarian Lettre Internationale has taught her that writers write better than philosophers. She also talks about the importance
of cultural bridge-building and why we shouldn’t make a distinction between ‘big’ and ‘small’ literatures.
In Lit_cast Slovakia #23, literature scholar Ivana Hostová talks with Julia Sherwood about the agendas that drive translations of Slovak poetry into English and why quantity does not necessarily translate into quality. She talks about why publishing poetry in translation is challenging even in a translation-dominated culture such as Slovakia. And she also introduces Nóra Ružičková, one of the first Slovak female experimental poets, as well as the subversive poetry of Peter Macsovszky.
In Lit_cast Slovakia #24, literature scholar, translator and one-time rock band member Peter Petro admits to being baffled by the mysterious link between Slavonic studies and rock music. He also talks with Julia Sherwood about the difficulties of finding publishers for Slovak books in English, praises the natural beauty of Vancouver and the kindness of Canadians, and pleads for fair pay for authors and translators.
photo by Nguyen Phuong Thao
In Lit_cast Slovakia #25, David Short, scholar and translator from Czech and Slovak, talks with Julia Sherwood about some of the staggering number of books he has translated, about grappling with ambiguities and archaisms in Vladislav Vančura’s works, and about deciphering the mix of Czech and Slovak in the writing of 18th-century Slovak writer Jozef Ignác Bajza. He reveals his preferred English rendition of Hrabal’s words pábení and pábitel, and explains why České Budějovice might be the only place in the Czech Republic where people chat away in pidgin (Tok Pisin) in local pubs.
photo by Fanni Böszörményi
In Lit_cast Slovakia #26, translator Tünde Mészáros talks with Julia Sherwood about growing up bilingually in Bratislava and raising multilingual daughters in Budapest; about the importance of musicality in translation, the variety of specialists she consults in her research, and why she prefers good non-fiction to bad fiction; and about how a swimming pool attendant helped her solve a particular translating challenge in Samko Tále’s Cemetery Book.
photo by Jana Liska
In Lit_cast Slovakia #27, writer, artist, editor, and DIY enthusiast Monika Kompaníková talks with Julia Sherwood about the universal appeal of her novel Boat Number Five, about the book’s screen adaptation, and about the importance of translations. She talks as well as about discovering deep sea creatures with her son, writing lyrics for rock bands, and commissioning books that aim to improve the access of Roma children to education and to change the way people think.
photo by Ondřej Herskovič
In Lit_cast Slovakia #28, translator and journalist Tomáš Hučko talks with Julia Sherwood about what made him co-found the monthly Kapitál, about championing socially engaged writing and political comic books, about the most popular Slovak children’s books since 1989, as well as about the joys and challenges of translating John Fante, Henry David Thoreau, and John Steinbeck. He has plenty of suggestions of books by Slovak authors that might be worth translating into English, and he recommends taking a fresh look at some interwar communist writers.
photo by Tomáš Vodňanský
In Lit_cast Slovakia #29, deputy director of Karolinum Press Martin Janeček talks with Julia Sherwood about bringing Czech books to foreign audiences, about being undeterred by the disruptions to publishing schedules caused by the pandemic, and about the Modern Czech Classics series that aims to go beyond the traditional literary canon. And – ta-da! – he reveals plans for a new Modern Slovak Classics series and his publishing house’s long-term commitment to introduce the best of Slovak literature.
Julia Sherwood interviewed by Peter Michalík
before and after photos by Magdalena Pogorzaly and Miriam Sherwood, respectively
Since April of 2020, Julia Sherwood has interviewed nearly thirty guests
for Lit_cast Slovakia. In this final—and slightly longer—30th episode, Peter Michalík, the producer of this podcast series, turns the tables on her. He coaxes the renowned translator and tireless promoter of Slovak literature to tell the fascinating story of her forced exile from Czechoslovakia; of her years
in Germany, England, and the US; of her love of Central Europe;
and of her beginnings as a literary translator.
Lit_cast Slovakia is produced by Peter Michalík at The Centre for Information on Literature (LIC) with theme music by Jason Shaw. For more information about Jason’s music, see Creative Commons Music by Jason Shaw
SlovakLiterature.com provides hosting of Lit_cast Slovakia on this page through an agreement with LIC
in order to offer a repository with more stable links than other services are sometimes able to allow. For the most up-to-date information and the latest episodes, see the LIC page itself, or one of the podcast services linked
at the top of this page.
Lit_cast Slovakia is produced by Peter Michalík at The Centre for Information on Literature (LIC) with theme music by Jason Shaw. For more information about Jason’s music, see Creative Commons Music by Jason Shaw on Audionautix.com.
SlovakLiterature.com provides hosting of Lit_cast Slovakia on this page through an agreement with LIC in order to offer a repository with more stable links than other services are sometimes able to allow. For the most up-to-date information and the latest episodes, see the LIC page itself, or one of the podcast services linked at the top of this page.