The former Cullman Center fellows José Manuel Prieto and Esther Allen talk with Keith Gessen about Prieto’s new novel, which Allen translated. (Photograph by Caroline White)
José Manuel Prieto was born in Havana and spent several years as an engineer in the Soviet Union before becoming a writer. A novelist, translator, and essayist, he has published articles on Russia, Cuba, politics, and literature in The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and The Paris Review. His novels translated into English include Rex and Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire. Prieto teaches at Seton University.
Esther Allen has translated over twenty books, essays, and articles from the French and the Spanish, including José Manuel Prieto’s novel Rex. She edited and contributed to To Be Translated or Not to Be, a collection of essays on translation. She is the co-founder of the PEN World Voices: New York Festival of International Literature. In 2006, the French government named her a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres. She teaches at Baruch College.
A founding editor of the literary magazine n+1, Keith Gessen is the author of the novel All the Sad Literary Men. He translated from the Russian Voices from Chernobyl, by Svetlana Alexievitch, and, along with Anna Summers, There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Gessen writes frequently for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and The London Review of Books.
This event is copresented with n+1