Protegido: University of Denver and Denver Public Library DU Grand Challenges takes A Leer Más Cuentos live at the library
By: Manuel Calvillo de la Garza, CCESL Scholar, PhD Student University Writing Program
Manuel is a student, writer, and translator from Monterrey, México. He has been a scholar or fellow at the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, Community of Writers, and Chapman University, where he taught and studied his MFA. Currently, he is the translator for the Borchard Foundation Center on Literary Arts and for A Leer Más Cuentos. He has completed his first novel, School of Artistas Inmigrantes, and is represented by Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, at Gernert Co.
Manuel is on his third year pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Denver and is now a CCESL Scholar. Through collaboration with DU, Manuel is working with the Denver Public Library to bring classic stories translated from English into a modern Spanish to Denver’s Spanish-speaking community. The translation of classic fiction stories from English into Spanish will make these timeless works more accessible to Spanish-speaking community members who may not have fluency in English. By broadening the availability of literature in their native language, we can foster a deeper appreciation for literature and encourage reading among diverse populations.
Denver Public Library’s advertising material.
Through this collaboration, A Leer Más Cuentos is able to restart after a year of inactivity, and is hosting four live readings at the Denver Public Library’s Rodolfo Gonzalez Branch in September and October. Links to each event can be found here:
Each story is a classic representative of a different genre and either does not have a translation into Spanish or its translation is outdated. Publishing these stories and its readings on the A Leer Más Cuentos website will allow any member of Spanish-speaking communities anywhere in the world have access to contemporary translations and performances of important, relevant stories originally published in English.
The stories that will be published a week ahead of each performance at the Denver Public Library have been translated and appear below, after the following reflection.
I have years of experience behind me doing professional translation, but this collaboration was much more than simply that, translation. It is only my second time triangulating with A Leer Más Cuentos and a Public Library (previously with Los Angeles Public Library), and now, with the Denver Public Library, I’ve learned about the different ways collaborators can work. The Denver Public Library was more hands-on and demonstrated more interest in following closely the translation work and processes I was applying. They seemed concerned with small details, such as tone and word choice, that I hadn’t experienced before when translating. I appreciated the interest since ultimately a strong collaborative process produces a more careful and thoughtful work of art.
This experience has taught and reinforced values and ideals that will help me approach potential collaborators more easily and readily. Thinking about new and next possible community partners is exciting, because even though A Leer Más Cuentos exists online and is accessible from anywhere, I’ve learned that its presence is always stronger in the communities in which the readings are held. Expanding the access to these modern translations is more than only an act of recognizing the immense and important presence of Spanish-speakers in this country, it is championing equal access to the arts, encouraging the development of critical thinking through reading, and creating bonds between people who might find themselves far from home.
I’m moved and honored that the following translations can mean something to Spanish-speaking communities.