Center for Writers and Translators
The Center for Writers & Translators has as its mission the promotion of literary activity, especially where that relates to the practice of translation – translation taken in its broadest sense.
It seeks to welcome writers and translators to Paris; sponsors and hosts readings, lectures, and debates, often in association with the bookshop Shakespeare & Company; supports a writer/translator in residence; and publishes (in association with Sylph Editions) the "Cahiers Series", a set of short books which make available new explorations in writing, in translating, and in the areas linking these two activities.
The Center serves to galvanize the already active literary culture at AUP and to provide a focus for the many different sorts of creative writing which the university both hosts and sponsors. For at least one hundred years Paris has been closely associated in the popular consciousness with writing. It has been the home of exiled and expatriate novelists and poets, from Hemingway to Gertrude Stein to Joyce to Beckett to Cortázar to Kundera.
It has been the place of publication of many masterpieces which were banned elsewhere, from Ulysses to Lolita. It is associated with many of the writers who are studied in literary classes around the world, from Baudelaire to Céline to Perec. It has been the crucial site where literature has met with philosophy and theory, to produce a nexus which has shaped the thinking of the humanities over the past fifty years, from Sartre to Beauvoir to Derrida to Lacan to Foucault and beyond.
And Paris remains the city of choice of many writers today, either because of its privileged history or because of the cultural capital which literary production still generates and receives. The Center for Writers and Translators, which benefits from the support of the Florence Gould Foundation, helps make AUP a natural locus for writers who are associated with Paris.
Why a Center for Writers and Translators? The specificity of The American University of Paris lies in its multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, cross-national mix. AUP is fortunate in having several experienced translators (and at least one world-famous translator) among its faculty. An AUP education has been, and must remain, one that is centered upon the ability to move across cultures, disciplines, epochs, and languages. Translation (in its several senses) may be the activity that AUP does best, and the Center seeks to promote translation and expand its commonly understood domain.
- The Center works within The Arts Arena to promote quality writing and translation. It seeks to welcome writers to Paris and to make their stay profitable and rich.
- In association with Sylph Editions, the Center produces a series of "cahiers" : original works by established writers, well designed and finely produced. Proceeds from the sale of the cahiers help to sponsor the Center’s activities.
- The Center schedules and sponsors events, including readings, lectures, informal talks, and conferences.
- The Center supports a Writer/Translator in Residence, whose work is studied and discussed by AUP students.
- The Writer in Residence makes him/herself available for discussion and consultation with faculty and students.
- The Center offers a space, both intellectual and physical, for the exchange of literary works-in-progress; as well as for the sharing of ideas on translation and translations-in-progress.
- Through its Advisory Board the Center affirms its commitment to cross-cultural literary endeavor.
- The Center serves as a link between writers within the student and faculty bodies and the worlds of writers’ associations, agencies, funding bodies, and publishing houses.