Allison Schachter of Vanderbilt University Recognized for Her Translation of Yiddish Short Stories

Allison Schachter, associate professor of Jewish studies and English at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, was awarded the Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies from the Modern Language Association of America. She is sharing the award with her colleague Jordan Finkin, the rare book librarian at Hebrew Union College in New York.

Dr. Schachter and Finkin will receive the award for their translation of From the Jewish Provinces: Selected Stories by Fradl Shtok (Northwestern University Press, 2021). The MLA gives the prize to an outstanding translation of a Yiddish literary work and to an outstanding scholarly work in English in the field of Yiddish. 

The selection committee’s citation reads. “The translators skillfully render Shtok’s poetic and evocative language into English, particularly in their fluid translation of the free indirect discourse that gives these characters their unique and modernist voices, making Shtok’s long-forgotten stories available and accessible to new audiences.” 

“I am thrilled to see Fradl Shtok’s writing get the recognition it deserved all along,” Dr. Schachter said. “She was a brilliant and vibrant writer whose haunting prose describes the lives of young Jewish men and women in the Austro-Hungarian provinces and in immigrant enclaves in New York. This translation makes her work available in English to students and scholars of modern Jewish culture and literature. It changes how we understand the modern Jewish canon, bringing a modernist woman’s voice into what had been an almost exclusively male canon of translated Yiddish prose.” 

Dr. Schachter earned a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Stanford University. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue research on Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She completed her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. 

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