Bread Loaf Conferences


Bread Loaf Translators' Conference
June 1-7, 2015


Literary translation is, as its name suggests, the translation of a literary work such as a poem, essay, short story, or novel, out of its original language and into a new language, but it is also the creative, complex, and writerly activity of making an equivalent literary text exist (at least in the United States) in English. The Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference is an annual, week-long event based on the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model that is designed to provide training and community to beginning as well as experienced translators in the pursuit of translating literary texts into English—or to those aiming to be more sophisticated readers of literary translation and to incorporate it into the classroom. A natural complement to signature Middlebury College programs such as the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference (now entering its 90th year), the Middlebury Language Schools, and the equally-renowned translation and interpretation degree programs at the Monterey Institute, this conference aims to strengthen the visibility and access to high quality literary translations in the United States and to acknowledge that translators require the same training and skills as creative writers. 


Monday, June 1—Sunday, June 7, 2015. The conference will take place at the Bread Loaf Campus of the Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont.


The conference will incorporate the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model of small, focused, genre-based workshops coupled with lectures and classes focusing on the art of literary translation. Workshops will be limited to ten participants so that each manuscript will receive individual attention and careful critique. All participants will also meet individually with their workshop leader to amplify and refine what was said in the workshop itself.

This week-long conference of workshops, classes, lectures, readings, and discussions is for translators who want to improve their literary craft; for students mastering a foreign language and wanting to begin acquiring skills in the art of translation; for teachers interested in bringing the practice of literary translation into their classrooms; and for anyone wanting to learn more about and participate in the ever-growing community of literary translators.


Acclaimed and award-winning translators Susan Bernofsky, Maureen Freely, Jennifer Grotz, Bill Johnston, and Don Share will constitute the faculty in this inaugural year of the conference. In addition to their literary accomplishments, each faculty member has been specifically chosen for his or her skill at guiding developing translators in a given genre.

Click here for the list of faculty bios and photos.

Other guests from the publishing, literary, and translating world will offer panels, discussions, or one-on-one meetings with conference participants.


The conference, which runs concurrently with the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference, will take place at the Bread Loaf campus of Middlebury College, nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont and under the shadow of Bread Loaf Mountain. Writers and translators alike will be inspired by the breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains, the hundreds of miles of trails surrounding the campus, the remarkable original Bread Loaf Inn, and the stillness of the surrounding forest. Participants will be housed in historic buildings on the campus which provide simple but comfortable lodging. Meals are catered by Middlebury College Dining Services, which incorporates locally-sourced food from over fifty Vermont companies into its menus and is ranked in the top 20 college dining services by Princeton Review. The Bread Loaf campus has Wi-Fi access available in virtually all common areas and most private rooms. The campus has a fully equipped computer lab with printers as well as the cozy Davidson Memorial Library, a reference and literature library. Please note that cell phones generally do not work on the Bread Loaf campus.

Conference participants desiring to stay off-campus must do so at their own expense. A list of hotels and other accommodations can be found at the Addison County Chamber of Commerce web site.


Participants will be asked to apply as one of the following:

As a Participant in the Introductory Workshop:

This workshop is ideal for those interested in literary translation but are still acquiring sufficient proficiency in a foreign language, those who do have some language skills but are not currently working on a project, students of literature, comparative literature, and creative writing, and teachers who are interested in learning how to incorporate translation into the classroom. The purpose of the workshop will be to acquaint participants with some of the recurring questions, problems, and pleasures of the activity of literary translation. Students will be provided with literary texts from different genres and languages and expected to create translations that will be reviewed in class.

As a Participant in a Translation Manuscript Workshop:

These workshops are intended for students who already have sufficient foreign language skill and are working on translations that are in-progress. Workshops will be genre based: two workshops in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and one workshop in poetry will be offered. In addition, there will be the option of a mixed-genre workshop (comprised of translations of either poetry or prose or of texts in hybrid genres). These workshops are ideal for students and translators who are still honing skills as well as intermediate or advanced translators who have undertaken a project and are looking for feedback. Manuscripts of up to 4,000 words (for prose) or 10 pages (for poems) will be reviewed in the workshop and in a one-on-one conference with the instructor.

As an Auditor:

Auditors are those who would like to be “a fly on the wall" in a translation manuscript workshop or the introductory workshop but do not feel ready to participate fully. Auditors are encouraged to attend and take part in all aspects of the conference, although no manuscript will be reviewed nor will an individual conference be held with the instructor.


Applications to the conference will be accepted between November 1, 2014 and March 15, 2015. Acceptance will be based on the strength and promise of the translation sample submitted and the degree to which the applicant and his or her work will benefit from the conference. Only applications of work being translated into English are able to be considered. The application will require submitting a writing sample both in the original source language and the target language of English. Two workshops will be offered working exclusively in prose, either fiction or nonfiction (Freely, Bernofsky); one poetry workshop will be offered (Share); one mixed workshop (manuscripts accepted in prose or poetry) will be offered (Johnston); and one introductory workshop (Grotz).

Acceptances will be made on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified whether they have been admitted approximately four to six weeks after they apply. With rolling admissions, those who apply early increase their chances of acceptance; therefore, we encourage you to apply early.

Applicants will submit a manuscript of current work: up to 4,000 words of prose (fiction or nonfiction) or up to 10 pages of poetry. Applicants should send their strongest unpublished work. Applicants for the introductory workshop are not required to submit a translation sample but have an additional brief essay prompt on the application.

Guidelines for Manuscript Sample

The applicant’s name and a page number must appear on each sheet of the manuscript. (For example: Smith, p. 1.)

Prose manuscripts must be double-spaced with 12 pt. font and margins of at least 1.25”. The total word count should be noted at the top of the first page. Applicants may include one or more stories/essays as long as the overall total number of pages is within the 4,000 word limit. Please include a short note to let readers know if the piece is a story, an excerpt from a novel or nonfiction. Manuscripts excerpted from a longer project should include a one-page synopsis placed at the back of the piece.

Poetry manuscripts should have 12 pt. font and can be either single- or double-spaced. A poem can exceed one page, as long as the complete manuscript submission is within the 10 page limit. Limit one poem per page.

Please do not send children’s or young adult literature, self-help literature, or translations of work that is not literary in nature.


Bread Loaf uses the Submittable online application program. Applicants who already have a Submittable account in place will be asked to login; those new to Submittable will be prompted to set up a free account before accessing the application.



Participant--$2,060 (tuition, $1445; room and board, $615)

Auditor--$1,750 (tuition, $1,135; room and board, $615)

There is a $15.00 application fee. A $200.00 deposit to hold your spot within the conference is due within two weeks of notification of acceptance.


Grants-in-Aid and Scholarships

The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference is making available a limited number of $300 grants-in-aid to participants accepted into the Translators’ Conference.

Applicants for financial aid fill out the conference application first and then complete the grant and scholarship application. The two applications must be submitted at the same time (one just after the other). Unfortunately, it will not be possible to consider a financial aid application submitted at a later time.


Middlebury College student scholarship applications are accepted online and must be submitted by March 1, 2015. These scholarships are available for current students of Middlebury College. The scholarships are awarded based on the quality of the work submitted. Middlebury College student scholarships cover tuition, room, and board at the Translators’ Conference ($2,060).

For this particular scholarship, we also require a completed recommendation form. You will need to ask a Middlebury College instructor to complete the form and send it in. (The instructor can fill in the form or simply answer the questions in the body of an email—more details are noted on the form.)


Jennifer Grotz, Director of the Conference, is the author of three books of poetry, including The Window Left Open, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2016. Psalms of All My Days, translations from the French poet Patrice de La Tour du Pin, appeared in 2014. Rochester Knockings, by the Tunisian novelist Hubert Haddad, is forthcoming from Open Letter in 2015. She is also co-translating with Piotr Sommer a selection from the Polish of the poetry of Jerzy Ficowski. Some of the poems from that collection have recently appeared in New York Review of Books, Poetry, Parnassus, and The Nation. She teaches poetry and translation at the University of Rochester, where she also serves as program director for the Masters in the Art of Literary Translation.

Noreen Cargill, Administrative Manager of the Conference, has worked for Middlebury College since 2000. Before joining the Conference, she worked in a library, a bookstore, and a small publishing house. She enjoys freelance writing and has published in Better Homes and Gardens, the Boston Globe, Vermont Life, and Vermont Magazine.


The Bread Loaf campus is a 20-minute drive from Middlebury in the Green Mountains. The address to use with Google Maps is 4229 Ripton 125, Ripton, Vermont 05766.

The nearest airport is located in Burlington, VT (BTV), about an hour and twenty minutes from the Bread Loaf campus. Shared taxis will be available to transport people from the airport to campus. Details will be included with acceptance materials.


The Bread Loaf Conferences
Attn: Translators’ Conference
204 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802-443-5286
Fax: 802-443-2087