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


Susan Bernofsky

Portrait of Susan Bernofsky
Photo Copyright © Caroline White

Susan Bernofsky

Susan Bernofsky is an author and the prizewinning translator of seven works of fiction by the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, as well as novels and poetry by Yoko Tawada, Jenny Erpenbeck, Uljana Wolf, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, and others. Her most recent book, Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. For her translations, she has received the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, The Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize, the Ungar Award for Literary Translation, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, and others. A Guggenheim, Cullman, and Berlin Prize fellow, she teaches literary translation at the Columbia University School of the Arts and is currently working on a new translation of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain for W.W. Norton.

Articles by Susan Bernofsky

Festival Neue Literatur This Week in New York
By Susan Bernofsky
The Festival Neue Literatur has been around since 2010.  This festival of new writing from the German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) is put on in New York every year, in February,…
A Berlin Diary, in Memory of September 11
By Susan Bernofsky
I spent the academic year 2001–2 in Berlin.  This was a year bracketed by tragedies that took place in my absence—one huge and life-changing for millions of people, one small and life-changing…
A Semester’s Fruits: A Followup Report on the MFA Program at Queens College
By Susan Bernofsky
It’s been quite a fall.  Those of you who read my earlier dispatch about arriving at Queens College of the City University of New York last September to teach in the MFA Program in Creative…
MFA in Translation: Queens College
By Susan Bernofsky
According to the New York Times, New York’s borough of Queens is one of the most linguistically diverse urban areas in the country—its inhabitants listed 138 different languages on their census…
from The Book of Words
By Jenny Erpenbeck
One. Two. And three. During the first three years of school, we are required to cross our arms if we wish to rest them on our desktops when we aren’t writing. Only when we are older, the teachers…
Translated from German by Susan Bernofsky
from “Lord of the Horns”
By Matthias Politycki
Of course it had to be salsa,which Broschkus detested. In a perfunctory way, he set his legs in motion, more the representation of a dance than the dance itself, he wanted to focus on the silvery toenails…
Translated from German by Susan Bernofsky
What Darkness Was
By Inka Parei
The building stood at Frankfurt’s western edge, near a river, the Nidda. The old man had never expected to inherit it, he’d been shocked when the news came to him. At first he’d found…
Translated from German by Susan Bernofsky
Hair Tax
By Yoko Tawada
After months of controversy, the new hair tax was approved. The Hamster Lovers' Guild was said to be the driving force behind the reform. The Guild had always found it objectionable that the tax levied…
Translated from German by Susan Bernofsky