Oglethorpe alumnus J.T. Mahany ’12 was awarded The Albertine Prize for his English translation of the book “Bardo or Not Bardo” by French author Antoine Volodine.
The Albertine Prize, co-presented by Van Cleef & Arpels and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, recognizes American readers’ favorite French-language fiction title that has been translated into English and distributed in the U.S. within the preceding calendar year.
One of the funniest installments in Volodine’s acclaimed post-apocalyptic series, “Bardo or Not Bardo” consists of seven vignettes set in a universe of failed revolutions, radical shamanism, and off-kilter nomenclature. In each one, a newly dead character bungles his way through the Tibetan afterlife, or Bardo, failing to achieve enlightenment, while the living make a similar mess of things.
Mahany was a Philosophy major and studied French at Oglethorpe. He received his MA in Literary Translation Studies from the University of Rochester and is currently working on his MFA at the University of Arkansas while teaching English classes. In addition to “Bardo or Not Bardo”, he has translated Volodine’s “Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons: Lesson Eleven”.
Mahany works with Open Letter Books, the University of Rochester’s nonprofit, literary translation press and one of only a handful of publishing houses dedicated to increasing access to world literature for English readers. Publishing 10 titles in translation each year and running an online literary website called Three Percent, Open Letter searches for works that are extraordinary and influential, and those that they hope will become the classics of tomorrow.