The origins of this project
I started teaching literary translation at Glendon College in 2009. This mandatory course is part of the Spanish-English Translation Certificate, and it is my challenge every fall to inspire the students and show them how rewarding this art form can be. Time and again my students have proven not only to have the discipline and desire to perform well in class, but also to have the essential talent for this particular craft: the ability to think, feel and use language as though they were the writers themselves.
It is in celebration of that talent that I initiated a class project in collaboration with the Hispanic- Canadian magazine The Apostles Review. This Montreal-based publication has been in existence for ten years now, offering a platform for the works of established Spanish-speaking writers in Canada. When I contacted the Apostles’ editorial board and asked if they’d like to have my students work with their stories, they instantly agreed. And that’s how this small anthology came to be.
It sounds easy, right? Only it wasn’t. It took us two school years to finish translating the nine stories that had been selected and a few more months after that to put them all together. It has been a successful journey, however, because we have finally arrived at what we hope will be a safe port: the hands of English-speaking readers.
All the translated stories in this volume were written by Spanish-speaking authors who have continued to nourish their literary careers here in Canada and who are as diverse as our diaspora. Each author’s point of view, use of language, plot and even narrative interest is unique.
As people who have arrived in Canada mostly from Latin America, the writers who are featured in this edition share a deep nostalgia for the landscapes and the people that have been left behind –whether under warm sunshine or amidst heartless bloodbaths– the former having shaped our childhood, the latter permanently weaved into our existence, always throbbing there, whether in the past or in the present. But the reader will also find here stories about strange encounters on the
streets of a populous Canadian city, an Irish elevator operator, a little girl whose grandmother destroys her innocence, a broken-down poet who never gave up. There are also broken hearts and the sad fate of those who try desperately to cross the Rio Grande in search of a better life. All of these voices deserve to be heard. There is something for everyone, really.
I would like to thank, first and foremost, all the authors who generously allowed my students to translate their work in to English. Gina Beltrán, Claudio Kuczer, Diego Creimer, Guillermo Rose, Pablo Salinas, Alejandro Saravia, Pablo Urbanyi: I hope we have done your stories justice.
I also would like to thank the students whose efforts made this collection possible. Some of them have already graduated from the program at Glendon. All of them have been so very patient, waiting to see their names printed in these pages, a fair reward for their commitment and talent. Norma Lizeth Barahona, Caitlin Kinnear, David Marshall, Catalina Ramírez, Gabriela Rodas, Corina Sirb: may you all have the success you deserve as translators. I hope you are proud of yourselves, because I am certainly very proud of each one of you.
Special thanks to Dr. Maria Constanza Guzman for supporting this project, and to Gabriela Campos for the artwork.
To Diego Creimer and Maria José Giménez, my partners-in-crime, thanks for all your help and support to make this possible.
We Hispanic-Canadian writers are used to toiling in the fringes of literary life in our adoptive country. This is a humble intent to reach out and have our voices heard. ¡Salud! Cheers to this vast and generous land that has welcomed us with open arms, and that will now, hopefully, listen to us with an open heart.
Toronto, March 2015