Past Event

Ana Luisa Amaral and translator Margaret Jull Costa

What's in a Name

With the elliptical looping of a butterfly alighting on one’s sleeve, the poems of Ana Luisa Amaral arrive as small hypnotic miracles. Spare and beautiful in a way reminiscent both of Szymborska and of Emily Dickinson (it comes as no surprise that Amaral is the leading Portuguese translator of Dickinson), these poems–in Margaret Jull Costa’s gorgeous English versions–seamlessly interweave the everyday with the dreamlike and ask “What’s in a name?”

Ana Luisa Amaral was born in Lisbon, in 1956, and lives in Leça da Palmeira. She has written poetry, plays, children’s books, books of essays and a novel. She has translated poets such as Emily Dickinson, John Updike or William Shakespeare. Her books have been published in several countries, such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico or the United States. She has received various prizes and awards, and her name has twice been put forward for the Premio Reina Sofia. She taught for many years at the University of Porto, from which she received her Ph.D. on Emily Dickinson, and where her academic research centered around Comparative Poetics, Feminist Studies and Queer Theory. She currently co-hosts a weekly radio program on national radio on poetry, O som que os versos fazem ao abrir.

Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for nearly thirty years and has translated many novels and short stories by Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin American writers, including Javier Marías, Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, Bernardo Atxaga, and Ramón del Valle-Inclán. She received the 2008 PEN Book-of-the-Month Translation Award, the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for her version of Eça de Queiroz’s masterpiece The Maias, the 2012 Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for The Word Tree by Teolinda Gersão (Dedalus Books), and The 2015 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize in Translation for Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub.