Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Contributor

Samantha Schnee

Samantha-Schnee
Photo copyright © Anita Staff
Contributor

Samantha Schnee

Samantha Schnee is the founding editor of Words Without Borders. Her translation of The Goddesses of Water, a collection by Mexican poet Jeannette Clariond, was published by Shearsman Books in the UK (August 2021) and World Poetry Books in the US. Her translation of Carmen Boullosa’s penultimate novel, The Book of Anna, was published by Coffee House Press last year, and her translation of Boullosa’s Texas: The Great Theft was shortlisted for the PEN America Translation Prize. She is a trustee of English PEN, where she chaired the Writers in Translation committee from 2014–17, and she currently serves as secretary of the American Literary Translators Association. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, she lives in Houston, Texas.

Articles by Samantha Schnee

Portrait of writer Marta Orriols
Photo copyright © Ariana Arnes
Writing the Universal
By Samantha Schnee
I think that people rediscovered reading in that period of calm when everything was standing still, and no one could go out or do anything.
Translated from Spanish by the author
“The Joy of Cultural Mixing”: Daljit Nagra on Retelling the Classic Ramayana in Punglish
By Samantha Schnee
Humor was essential for my Ramayana.
Becoming a “Second-Career” Translator: A Conversation with Aneesa Abbas Higgins
By Samantha Schnee
The experiences gained from a lifetime of reading and pursuing other professions are invaluable assets.
The City and the Writer: In Mexico City with Carmen Boullosa
By Carmen Boullosa
The city has devoured itself over and over again.
Translated by Samantha Schnee
Remains of a Party in Condesa
By Ariel Urquiza
The clown had put the platter of coke on his head, like a waiter carrying a tray.
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Great Explorations: WWB at Fifteen
By Samantha Schnee
This fifteenth anniversary issue takes a look back at the work of fifteen of these authors.
From “Texas: The Great Theft”
By Carmen Boullosa
Eleven years have passed since the town of Bruneville was founded on the banks of the Rio Bravo, just a few miles up-river from the Gulf. It was named after Ciudad Castaño, the legendary shining…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
They Destroyed Our Radios and Televisions
By Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas
They destroyed our radios and televisionsto leave us without images,without those maudlin songsthat lulled our past to sleepback when we still believed in trainsby the seaside, at the ranch where Lauracarried…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Multilingual
From the Translator: Working with the Author
By Samantha Schnee
Editor's note: Translator Samantha Schnee worked closely with author Carmen Boullosa throughout the translation of the latter's “Sleepless Homeland.” The following exchange, with its…
Sleepless Homeland
By Carmen Boullosa
In which junkie’s syringe did you become trapped, my Homeland?
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
LearnMultilingual
The Eagle
By Ambar Past
I only learn to be content.—Shogun Tokugawa  For Brisa Tinoco and those who have emailed asking if it’s true an old eagle sits alone on the mountaintop, tearing…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Multilingual
For Antonio Gamoneda
By Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas
I wanted to write like AntonioGamoneda, so I went to Leónand, after visiting the cathedralto ask God to forget me,I arrived at the poet’s house.Maestro, I said, tell me,reveal to me the secret…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Multilingual
Samantha Schnee on Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “Blue”
By Samantha Schnee
I began going to see foreign films in 1986, the year I got my driver’s license.  My friends and I would meet in the subterranean parking garage of a deserted business complex in downtown Houston…
Six Months on Minimum Wage
By Andrés Felipe Solano
The hundred people who work at the Tutto Colore clothing factory have hardly noticed me. I could have been an actor, but here I’m invisible, like an extra. I’d like to think that I’m…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
What’s So Great About Proust?
By Samantha Schnee
Last week’s hot ticket in literary London was the Royal Society for Literature’s program “What’s so great about Proust?” featuring Margaret Drabble, Ian Patterson (translator…
The Ears of the Hippopotamus
By Samantha Schnee
Astrid Lindgren is perhaps best known for Pippi Longstocking, her children’s classic, but she created many other fine characters, too, including “The Brothers Lionheart.” One of the…
East End
By Enrique Vila-Matas
Bel has rented the only David Cronenberg film I haven't seen. It's about “the breakdown of communication between a loner and an inhospitable world.” In the first scene, young Spider,…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Snatch
By Horacio Castellanos Moya
“He is a survivor, but he doesn’t write like one.”—Roberto Bolaño
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Waltic on the Baltic
By Samantha Schnee
Last week over six hundred Writers and Literary Translators (WALT) convened in Stockholm for the inaugural International Congress (IC). Over ninety countries were represented by writers speaking—and…
Travels with My Aunt
By Nicolás Casariego
If I had to choose a few words to sum up the trip it wouldn't be one phrase, but several, shouted loudly in my aunt Adelina's dry, shrill voice:“Stop! Stop! Will you stop once and for all!…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
from “Trifero”
By Ray Loriga
Kiss MeLittle Lotte, as he liked to call her, was a robust Norwegian measuring five foot ten in stocking feet, six foot three in her skates. Her grandmother, as you'll have guessed already, was the…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
from “Road Story”
By Alberto Fuguet & Gonzalo Martinez
From Road Story (Madrid: Alfaguara, 2004). By arrangement with the publisher. Translation copyright 2008 by Samantha Schnee. All rights reserved. Click here to watch a promotional video.
Translated by Samantha Schnee
from “Rabbit on the Road”
By Liniers
The island lights look like the stars came down from the sky and queued up.
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Their Boots Were Made for Walking: El Taller de la Gráfica Popular
By Carmen Boullosa
Figure 1. A politician from the party that now holds the presidential seat, riding the PRI dinosaur, says: “It's about time troops and police enter Oaxaca!”A legendarily short story by…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Behind Iron Bars
By Jorge Garcia & Fidel Martinez
From Cuerda de Presas. Copyright © 2001 by Jorge Garcia and Fidel Martinez. Published by agreement with Astiberri ediciones. Translation copyright © 2007 by Samantha Schnee. All…
Translated by Samantha Schnee
from “Lepanto’s Other Hand”
By Carmen Boullosa
The story of the Juan Latino's portraitist, Esteban Luz, who enters this story when Don Juan of Austria visits Granada during the Alpujarras War (1568-70), otherwise known as the Civil War.Near the…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
from “The Perfect Novel”
By Carmen Boullosa
Chapter FiveWe were working on “recording” the following scenes from my novel: the Sunday lunch in the garden at Manuel's house, where the two families part amicably, mothers and aunts…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Multilingual
from “The Wind from the East”
By Almudena Grandes
When the Olmedo family arrived at their new home a strong easterly wind, the Levanter, was blowing. It blew the house's canvas awnings so high it appeared they would come free of their aluminum frames,…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]