By Julia Snyder, sophomore English and communication double major from Murrysville
LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College senior Mallory Truckenmiller has been awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in literary translation at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Truckenmiller will be funded under the Iowa Arts Fellowship, a full-ride, non-teaching fellowship that covers the entire two-year program.
Truckenmiller, a native of Belle Vernon, is an English major with minors in Spanish and secondary education. In the past, she has completed internships with Asymptote, a journal for world literature in translation, and Eulalia Books, a small press which also publishes literary translations and is affiliated with Saint Vincent College.
Truckenmiller discovered her passion for literary translation after taking Spanish literature courses, which introduced her to Latin American and Iberian literature.
“I felt like I had been cheated all these years,” she said. “There were so many wonderful authors and pieces that I never had access to or even knew about. I absolutely fell in love.”
Dr. Dennis McDaniel, chair of the Saint Vincent English department and Trucknemiller’s academic adviser, said, “Mallory has been admitted to the top program in the country not only because she is a brilliant writer and translator but also because she is passionate and tenacious. She inspires all of us.”
“The Literary Translation Program at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop is the very top program in the field,” added Michelle Gil-Montero, associate professor of English at Saint Vincent and alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. “Mallory will have rare opportunities to work with major writers from around the world while gaining expertise as a publishing literary translator.”
Gil-Montero worked closely with Truckenmiller in her studies of literary translation, including her senior project, the translation of a creative nonfiction work entitled “Dead Girls” by Argentine writer Selva Almada.
“Mallory was the first ‘official’ student in our new literary translation program,” said Gil-Montero. “In her academic work at Saint Vincent, she has already shown that she has the diligence, creativity and linguistic dexterity to be a very successful literary translator. I am so excited for her!”
Truckenmiller credited Gil-Montero’s creative writing workshops with helping her learn how to make focused improvements to her writing.
“My professors challenged me to be so much more than a good student,” said Truckenmiller. “They challenged me to be a curious learner, to take risks, to embrace new and difficult perspectives, to rework that paper just one more time, to stay up all night immersed in a project that I just can’t put down, to be both afraid and excited at the same time and to always expect more for myself.”
According to the program’s website, “The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a two-year residency program which culminates in the submission of a creative thesis (a novel, collection of stories, or book of poetry) and the awarding of a Master of Fine Arts degree.”
Notable alumni of the program include Flannery O’Connor, John Irving, Jane Smiley and Ann Patchett.
Photo: Saint Vincent College senior Mallory Truckenmiller
YouTube: Saint Vincent College