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Margaret Sayers Peden

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Margaret Peden


University of Missouri

Margaret Sayers Peden tupressorgimguploadpeden2008jpg

The Tunnel, the Bilingual Edition of El Tunel, Out of the volcano

Margaret Sayers Peden is an award-winning American translator and professor emerita of Spanish at the University of Missouri. She lives and works in Columbia, Missouri.


Life and career

Her work covers nearly every genre — poetry, novel, theater and belles lettres — from the 16th century to today. Peden received her bachelor's (1948), master's (1963) and doctorate (1966) from the University of Missouri. She started translating while working toward her doctorate in 1964. Peden was writing on Mexican playwright Emilio Carballido and came across a small novel Carballido had written. Peden shared the book with her former late husband, William Peden, who said, "You know I don't read Spanish. Why don't you translate it for me?" So she did.

Carballido's The Norther (El Norte) became her first published translation in 1970. She continued translating and teaching at the University of Missouri until she retired from teaching in 1989. She still translates works today.

In 2010, Peden's translation of Fernando de Rojas' La Celestina won the 2010 Lewis Galantiere Translation Prize, which the American Translators Association awards every other year to a book-length literary translation.

In 2012, she received the Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation from the PEN American Center. Named in honor of U.S. translator Ralph Manheim, this literary award is given every three years to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of her work. The medal is awarded in recognition of a lifetime achievement in the field of literary translation.

Throughout Peden's career, she has translated more than 60 books from Spanish to English and is considered one of the leading translators of her time.

Selected translations

  • Carlos Fuentes
  • Terra Nostra 1976
  • The Hydra Head, 1978
  • Burnt Water, 1980
  • Distant Relations, 1982
  • The Old Gringo, 1985
  • Inez, 2002
  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
  • Woman of Genius, the Intellectual Biography of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 1982
  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Poems, 1985
  • Poems, Protest, and a Dream, 1996
  • Isabel Allende
  • Of Love and Shadows, 1987
  • The Stories of Eva Luna, 1991
  • Paula, 1995
  • Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses, 1998
  • Daughter of Fortune, 1999
  • Portrait in Sepia, 2001
  • City of the Beasts, 2002
  • My Invented Country, 2003
  • Zorro, 2005
  • Inés of My Soul, 2007
  • Island Beneath the Sea, 2010
  • Octavio Paz
  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz or The Traps of Faith, 1988
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Passions and Impressions, 1983
  • Elemental Odes, 1990
  • Juan Rulfo
  • Pedro Páramo, 1994
  • Arturo Pérez-Reverte
  • The Nautical Chart, 2001
  • Captain Alatriste, 2005
  • Painter of Battles 2008
  • Claribel Alegría
  • Casting Off, 2003
  • Antonio Muñoz Molina
  • Sepharad, 2003
  • Alfredo Castañeda
  • My Book of Hours, 2006
  • Cesar Vallejo
  • Spain, Take This Chalice From Me, 2008
  • Fernando de Rojas
  • La Celestina, 2009
  • Awards and honors

  • 2012 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation
  • 2011 Gala at the meeting of the American Literary Translators Association
  • 2010 Lewis Galantiere Translation Prize
  • 2004 PEN Translation Prize
  • 1988 Homenaje offered by Feria Internacional del Libro, American Literary Translators Association and La Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico
  • 1992 Gregory Kolovakos Award from PEN
  • 1985 The University of Missouri Presidential Award for Research
  • 1983 Resident Scholar, Rockefeller Study and Conference Center, Bellagio, Italy
  • 1979-86 Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair of Romance Languages
  • References

    Margaret Sayers Peden Wikipedia

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