The Arty Semite

Translation Contest to Honor Abraham Sutzkever

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Summer Literary Seminars has announced its Abraham Sutzkever Translation Prize, marking the centennial of the birth of one of the most acclaimed Yiddish poets of the 20th century.

“To me, he is the leading Yiddish poet, the epitome of Yiddish literature in the 20th century,” Mikhail Iossel said of Sutzkever. Iossel, a Soviet émigré and associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal, is the founder and director of the literary, creative writing and historical workshops that have taken place in St. Petersburg, Montreal, Nairobi and Vilnius. The Sutzkever Prize is associated with the SLS Lithuania program for summer 2013.

The new prize is being added to a lineup of already existing ones that are given through the SLS Unified Literary Contest, awarding winners with tuition, stipends and publication assurances. The winner of the Sutzkever Prize will receive tuition to SLS Lithuania plus $500 toward travel expenses. In addition, the winning entry will be translated into Lithuanian, and read at a celebration in Vilnius on the centennial, on July 15, 2013. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2013.

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How to Lose Yourself in Jewish Lithuania

By Renee Ghert-Zand

ANDREW DOBROWOLSKYJ

The Summer Literary Seminars are about “getting lost in a findable context,” said the program’s founder and director, Mikhail Iossel, somewhat oxymoronically.

“It’s about losing yourself on a journey with others with a shared interest in literature and creative writing,” he went on to explain about the seminars that have been taking place since 1998 in St. Petersburg, Montreal, Nairobi and Vilnius.

Participants in the programs participate in intensive creative writing and literary workshops, and meet with local historians, journalists and writers. The Vilnius program, which begins this year on July 31, has a special “Jewish Lithuania” track for those interested in delving deeply into Vilna’s rich and deep Jewish past.

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