ProfileSusan Bernofsky’s literary translations include eight works of fiction by the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, as well as novels and poetry by Jenny Erpenbeck, Yoko Tawada, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, Uljana Wolf, and others. A Guggenheim fellow and former chair of the PEN Translation Committee, she co-edited (with Esther Allen) the Columbia University Press anthology In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means. Her translation of Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel The End of Days won the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, The Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize, the Ungar Award for Literary Translation, and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. Her translation of Yoko Tawada’s novel Memoirs of a Polar Bear (2016) won the inaugural Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. She is currently completing work on a biography of Robert Walser for Yale University Press and blogs about translation
PublicationsSusan Bernofsky, one of the preeminent translators of German-language literature, directs the program Literary Translation at Columbia in the MFA Writing Progam at the Columbia University School of the Arts.
Her lifelong fascination with German literature began when she first read the Grimms' fairy tales in the original as a high school student in New Orleans. She takes particular interest in the lines of influence linking eighteenth and nineteenth century German thought to modern and contemporary literature and theater in the German-speaking world and beyond. Her writings on literature and culture are informed by her experience of living between two continents and cultures.
She blogs about literary translation at www.translationista.com, and is currently at work on a biography of the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, whom she has been translating for over twenty-five years.