Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Roundtable on Literary Translation

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for a roundtable discussion in celebration of National Translation Month. This roundtable on the art of literary translation and the business of publishing translated literature from East Central Europe will include a program of literary readings from recently translated works.


Ellen Elias-Bursać, Translator from Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian

Jennifer Croft, Translator from Polish and Spanish

Christopher Moseley, Translator from Estonian, Finnish, Latvian, and the Scandinavian languages

George Szirtes, Translator from Hungarian

Moderated by:
Christopher W. Harwood, Lecturer in Czech,
Aleksandar Bošković, Lecturer in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian
Co-Directors of the East Central European Center of Columbia University


Ellen Elias-Bursać has translated over twenty-five novels and books of non-fiction by Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian writers. ALTA’s National Translation Award was given to her translation of David Albahari’s novel Götz and Meyer in 2006. Her book Translating Evidence and Interpreting Testimony at a War Crimes Tribunal: Working in a Tug-of-War was given the Mary Zirin Prize in 2015. She is president of the American Literary Translators Association.



Jennifer Croft is the author of Homesick and Serpientes y escaleras and the co-winner with Nobel Laureate Olga Tokarczuk of The International Booker Prize for the novel Flights. She holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa and a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University.



Christopher Moseley (b. 1950 in Australia) is a freelance translator into English from Estonian, Finnish, Latvian, and the Scandinavian languages. Among the novels he has translated are Andrus Kivirähk’s The Man Who Spoke Snakish (2015), Indrek Hargla’s Apothecary Melchior and the Ghost of Rataskaevu Street (2016), and Ilmar Taska’s Pobeda 1946: A Car Called Victory (2018). He teaches Estonian and Latvian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, where he also runs a course on Baltic literature in translation.


George Szirtes (b. 1948 in Hungary) is a writer and translator. His first book, The Slant Door (1979) won the Faber Prize. He has published many since then, with his Reel (2004) winning the T. S. Eliot Prize, for which he has been twice shortlisted since. His memoir of his mother, The Photographer at Sixteen, was published in February 2019 and was awarded the James Tait Black prize for Biography in 2020. His translations too have won various prizes including the translator’s award at the International Booker Prize for his work on László Krasznahorkai. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Wikipedia has a full list of his publications and prizes.


Event Video