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Dr. Henne wins Marquette Fellowship for translation project

Dr. Nathan Henne won the Marquette to produce a translation of Guatemalan author and indigenous activist Luis de Lión’s 1975 novel El tiempo principia en Xibalba (Time Begins in Xibalba). The book’s original publication marked an important shift in the middle of Guatemala’s civil war because de Lión was the first fiction writer of this era to identify himself explicitly as Maya. This mattered because the Maya were the direct targets of most of the unimaginable violence that swept across this mountain country in the second half of the 20th century. Yet non-indigenous Guatemalans and foreigners generally had needed to speak for the oppressed Maya population because the Maya voice had been systematically silenced since the 16th century. Sadly, de Lión’s voice was also silenced when he was captured, tortured and killed by a government death squad in 1984, and to this day the book is not available in an English translation.