In this episode of the Air/Light Podcast, editor David L. Ulin talks with Christos Ikonomou and Karen Emmerich about writing and translation, particularly Ikonomou’s story “A Dreadful Consolation,” which appears in Air/Light this week. Ikonomou is among Greece’s pre-eminent contemporary fiction writers, the author of four collections of short stories, including “Something Will Happen, You’ll See” and “Good Will Come From the Sea,” both of which Emmerich has translated into English. Emmerich is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton, and a translator of modern Greek poetry and prose. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2010.
Ikonomou will be the inaugural recipient of the Chowdhury Prize in Literature, a new annual international mid-career prize for writers, presented at the University of Southern California through the auspices of the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation and in collaboration with Kenyon College and The Kenyon Review. The prize seeks to identify authors who are at an inflection point, with a body of work already behind them, but also with significant future potential. It is this future work the prize means to encourage; it is not a retrospective award but rather one that is intended to actively assist writers on the creative cusp to push ahead into new territories.
Ikonomou, Emmerich, and Ulin spoke together on a Zoom call from three different time zones: Athens, New York, and Los Angeles.
A transcript of this interview can be found here.