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Dean Nominated for Prestigious PEN Literary Award

August 2013

Aron Aji, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was among five nominess for the prestigious 2013 PEN Translation Prize.

Aji was nominated for A Long Day's Evening, an historical Turkish novel by Bilge Karasu. The English translation of the novel, which also includes a short story translated by the late Fred Stark, was published by City Lights Books in 2012. It originally was published in Turkish in 1991.

Aji's nomination followed honors he previously received for translating the works of Karasu, a legendary Turkish novelist who died in 1995.

Aji received the National Translation Award from the American Literary Translators Association in 2004 for his translation on the 1979 Karasu novel The Garden of Departed Cats. In 2006, Aji was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Translation to assist his work on A Long Day's Evening.

In 2002, Aji translated Death in Troy, Karasu's debut novel published in Turkish in 1963. He also has translated to English two pieces written by Turkish playwright Murathan Mungan, Mahmud and Yezida (2003) and Deer Curses (1999), as well as 21 poems and short stories, five originally authored by Karasu. Aji is a member of the American Literary Translators Association and Pen America Center.

In 1992, Aji conceived and edited Milan Kundera and the Art of Fiction: Critical Essays. A Czech author best known for the 1984 postmodern novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera had been the subject of Aji's doctoral thesis, which he completed at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Aji earned his bachelor's degree in English from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.

He has been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at St. Ambrose since 2006.

Aji was born in 1960 in Izmir, Turkey. He resides in Iowa City with his wife, Joyce, and their son, Jacob.

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