Vanada Receives NEA Translation Fellowship

January 26th, 2024

Kelsi Vanada, program director of the American Literary Translators Association, is one of 18 translators selected by the National Endowment for the Arts to receive a Literature Translation Fellowship.


Vanada is a poet and translator working from Spanish and collaboratively from Swedish. The $15,000 fellowship will support the translation into English of the poetry collection Una pequeña personalidad linda [A Little Pretty Personality] by Spanish poet Berta García Faet.


The American Literary Translators Association, ALTA, has been affiliated with the College of Humanities since 2019. Since moving to the University of Arizona, ALTA has grown to more than 800 members and the College of Humanities partnership has led to numerous collaborations.


A Little Pretty Personality is García Faet’s seventh poetry collection—its central motif is a reinvention of the image of the medieval trobairitz, women who composed, wrote verses, and performed for noble courts, and are the first known female composers of Western secular music. The poems feature a wandering narrator singing as she goes through the world in search of something not yet named.


“Winning a translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts is invaluable—it gives validation to my translations and means I have the support to ensure that Berta García Faet’s work reaches a wider readership in English. I am eager to return to Spain to work closely with her on my drafts of A Little Pretty Personality, and grateful to the NEA for this gift,” Vanada said.


Vanada’s previous translations include United Left by Álvaro Lasso (Eulalia Books); The Visible Unseen by Andrea Chapela (Restless Books); Damascus, Atlantis: Selected Poems by Marie Silkeberg, which was longlisted for the 2022 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (Terra Nova Press); Into Muteness by Sergio Espinosa (Veliz Books); and The Eligible Age by Berta García Faet (Song Bridge Press). She has also published a chapbook of original poems, Rare Earth (Finishing Line Press) and holds MFAs in Poetry (Iowa Writers' Workshop) and Literary Translation (University of Iowa).


In total, the NEA will award $325,000 in grants to support the translation into English of works written in 12 different languages from 16 countries.


“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to continue its longstanding investment in our nation’s literary translators. It is through their creativity and dedication that our nation’s literary landscape continues to be enriched with stories, perspectives, and ideas from around the world that reflect the rich diversity of cultures and strengthens our democracy,” said NEA Director of Literary Arts Amy Stolls.


Since 1981, the NEA has awarded 590 fellowships to 518 literary translators, with translations representing 80 languages and 90 countries. Visit to browse bios and artist statements from all of the 2024 recipients and past Literature Translation Fellows.