Alex Zucker

Translation, Editing, Communications

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Alex Zucker is an award-winning translator of Czech literature. He also works in editing and communications, and currently serves as cochair of the PEN America Translation Committee.

Alex has three translations out in 2016: Midway Upon the Journey of Our Life by Josef Jedlička (Karolinum Press); Love Letter in Cuneiform by Tomáš Zmeškal (Margellos World Republic of Letters at Yale University Press); and The Attempt by Magdaléna Platzová (Bellevue Literary Press).

Alex appeared with Magdaléna Platzová in European Voices: A Reading and Conversation, Sept. 15 at Boston University. Details here. Watch the video.

Both Magdaléna Platzová and Tomáš Zmeškal appeared at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, Sept. 18: Platzová at 12 noon (Occupy and Resist) and Zmeškal at 1 p.m. (Marriage: In Love, Madness and War).

Alex’s translation of Heda Margolius Kovály’s Innocence; or, Murder on Steep Street was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015. Read the opening of Chapter 1 here. Listen to Maureen Corrigan’s review for NPR here. Read the Wall Street Journal’s review here.

Reconstructing Atrocity Prevention, coedited by Alex with Sheri Rosenberg and Tibi Galis, was published by Cambridge University Press in September 2015.

Listen to Alex talk about the business of literary translation on the Three Percent podcast, with Chad Post and Tom Roberge, here. Read the transcript here.

Read other translations by Alex in Contemporary Czech Prose: Not Necessarily About Politics, the November 2014 issue of Words Without Borders, for which he also served as guest editor.

His translation of Jáchym Topol’s The Devil’s Workshop (2013, Portobello Books) was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In addition it won an English PEN Award for Writing in Translation, the Typographical Translation Award, and was named to the Fiction Longlist for the Best Translated Book Award.

Alex’s essay “O Pioneer! Michael Henry Heim and the Politics of Czech Literature in English Translation” appeared in The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation, eds. Esther Allen, Sean Cotter, and Russell Scott Valentino, published in 2014 by Open Letter Books.

Also in 2014, Alex was commissioned to create new subtitles for the digitally restored version of Closely Watched Trains, the 1966 classic based on the Bohumil Hrabal novella, which premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

He lives and works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Selected Works

“. . . a book sure to dazzle and please a great many readers.” – WALL STREET JOURNAL
“. . . should help to cement Jáchym Topol’s reputation as one of the most original and compelling European voices at work today.”
Times Literary Supplement
“. . . a gleeful skewering of the Czech national character and a character-rich, dialogue-sassy send-up colored by a lingering Communist legacy.”
Publishers Weekly
“. . . an acutely observed account — compelling despite its grimness — of the lives of its semi-nomadic subjects.”
Times Literary Supplement