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Jessica Powell

Jessica Ernst Powell, Literary Translator

Jessica Powell received her BA in International Studies from Vassar College, her MA in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, and completed her Ph.D. in UCSB’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, specializing in literary translation and twentieth-century Latin American Literature. She has published dozens of translations of literary works by a wide variety of Latin American writers. Recent translations include Pedro Cabiya’s novel Reinbou (Astra House, 2024); Sergio Missana’s The Transentients (McPherson & Co., 2021) and Gabriela Wiener’s Nine Moons (Restless Books, 2020), a 2021 Firecracker Award Finalist, a 2021 Northern California Book Award Finalist and a Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2020 pick. She was the recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship in support of her translation of Antonio Benítez Rojo's novel Woman in Battle Dress (City Lights, 2015), a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Translation. Her translation of Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya (Mandel Vilar Press, 2016) was named a finalist for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award and made the longlist for the 2017 National Translation Award. Her translation, the first-ever into English of Pablo Neruda’s book-length poem, venture of the infinite man, was published by City Lights Books in October of 2017. Other projects include a translation of Edna Iturralde’s Green Was my Forest, a 2019 Skipping Stones Honor Award recipient (Mandel Vilar Press, 2018), and co-translations with Suzanne Jill Levine of Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo’s Where There’s Love, There’s Hate (Melville House, 2013) and Silvina Ocampo’s The Promise (City Lights Books, 2019). She lives in Santa Barbara, CA with her husband Abe, her kids Olivia and Leo, and her dogs Hazel and Blue.


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