Reviews and writing on literature in translation…

Review: ‘Simple Passion’, by Annie Ernaux, tr. Tanya Leslie

Intense passion does not last forever; it is brief, fleeting, abrupt, just like Simple Passion. Released by Fitzcarraldo Editions in Tanya Leslie’s brilliant translation, Ernaux’s latest English release encapsulates all that is great about her writing in a concise forty-eight pages.  A novella of autobiographical fiction, Simple Passion follows an unnamed, middle-aged, female narrator as she documents two […]

Review: ‘Crocodile Tears’, by Mercedes Rosende, tr. Tim Gutteridge

Crocodile Tears, by Mercedes Rosende, is the latest publication from Bitter Lemon Press. Expertly translated from the Spanish by Tim Gutteridge, this crime fiction novella is the publishers first release from Uruguay, and Rosende’s first appearance in English. The intriguing plot begins in a dismal prison visiting room, where we meet Diego, recently charged with […]

French Independent Publishers Focus

In this short blog post, I wanted to offer a very brief overview of three French independent publishers that I love! Much like the UK publishing industry, the French market is dominated by some huge publishing corporations, however, their independent publishing is thriving and home to some of the best literature in France. These indie […]

My Women in Translation Month

For the seventh year running – thanks to the wonderful founder Meytal Radzinski – this August saw another ‘Women in Translation Month’, a whole month dedicated to promoting and celebrating female writers in translation. Like many, I devoted my entire month to reading only translated works from women, and like many, I attempted to reach […]

Borderless Book Club ‘Wild Woman’

Last week’s Borderless Book Club saw a fitting discussion for Women in Translation Month, with a session on the novel Wild Woman by Marina Šur Puhlovski, translated by Christina Pribichevich-Zorić and published by Istros Books. The director of Istros, Susan Curtis, joined us for the evening to offer her insight on what it was like […]

Borderless Book Club ‘Palestine +100’

This week’s Borderless Book Club saw a wonderfully insightful discussion surrounding Palestine +100, an anthology published by Comma Press and edited by Basma Ghalayini. For the evening we were joined by Becca Parkinson of Comma Press, Basma Ghalayini, and also Thoraya El-Rayyes, a translator of one of the stories in the anthology. Palestine +100 is […]

Borderless Book Club ‘Inlands’

Last week’s Borderless Book Club saw a discussion of Inlands, published by Nordisk Books, written by Elin Willows, and translated from the Swedish by Duncan J. Lewis. The minimalist and stripped back narrative is written from the point of view of a young Swedish girl who has moved from the city to a remote Northern […]

Borderless Book Club: ‘Summer of Reckoning’

This week’s Borderless Book Club welcomed Bitter Lemon Press to discuss Summer of Reckoning, written by Marion Brunet, and translated by Katherine Gregor. Bitter Lemon Press is a small independent publisher founded fifteen years ago that focuses on crime and noir translated literature. After reading a review of Summer of Reckoning in Le Monde, Bitter […]

Borderless Book Club: ‘Holiday Heart’

Last week’s book club saw a discussion of Margarita García Robayo’s Holiday Heart, translated by Charlotte Coombe and published by Charco Press. Joining us for the evening was the translator, Charlotte Coombe, editor, Fionn Petch, and co-founder of the press, Carolina Orloff. Holiday Heart follows the breakdown of a marriage between two Colombian immigrants to […]

Borderless Book Club: ‘Arid Dreams’

This week’s Borderless Book Club saw a wonderful discussion on Arid Dreams, published by Tilted Axis Press, written by Duanwad Pimwana and translated by Mui Poopoksakul. Arid Dreams is a powerful collection of feminist short stories. The collection came to be published in the UK as Tilted Axis read the US version and loved it, […]

Translation and Voice

Voice is something that we often hear being discussed when it comes to writing, with a writer’s voice perhaps being described as strong or unique, and conversations on how to find one’s voice as a writer. But is it possible for a translator too to have a voice, and if so, is it possible for […]

Borderless Book Club: ‘Snow, Dog, Foot’

Last Thursday I was very excited to be back at the wonderful Borderless Book Club, this time, for a discussion on Snow, Dog, Foot from Peirene Press, written by Claudio Morandini, and translated by J.Ockenden. The meeting started with a chat about the translation of the book. The translator, J, came to this translation (their […]

Translated Fiction Book Club: ‘Singer in the Night’

This week saw the final session for the online Translated Fiction Book Club where we discussed Singer in the Night by Olja Savičević, translated by Celia Hawkesworth and published by Istros Books. A warning that there are spoilers throughout this post! Singer in the Night is a Croatian novel in which we follow the protagonist, […]

Gender in Translation (3): Translating Gendered Constraints

A few posts back, in Gender in Translation (2): Translating Grammatical Gender, I discussed the difficulties of translating between different languages with different grammatical rules concerning gender. Translating grammatical gender is something that a translator normally doesn’t have to think twice about, as in most cases, the straightforward translation of ‘la’ and ‘le’ into ‘the’ […]

Translated Fiction Book Club: ‘Thirteen Months of Sunrise’

This week saw the penultimate session of the online Translated Fiction Book club in which we talked about Thirteen Months of Sunrise, a collection of short stories published by Comma Press, written by the Sudanese writer Rania Mamoun and translated by Elisabeth Jaquette. The evening commenced with a conversation with Elisabeth Jaquette on her translation […]

Translation and Image

As of late, I have been delving into the possibilities found in translating word into image, and vice versa. I think the fact that two creative forces such as writing and painting can correlate in a host of different ways and collide through the act of translation is very exciting and is something I aim […]

Translated Fiction Book Club: ‘Restless’

In this week’s Translated Fiction Book Club, we were discussing Restless, published by Nordisk Books, written by Kenneth Moe and translated by Alison McCullough. This week’s discussion was great, as Restless was a book that divided opinions and welcomed some very interesting debates. In brief, Restless is a one-hundred-page letter, or perhaps even a journal […]

Translation as Palimpsest

Every piece of writing is inevitably influenced by writings that have come before. As we write, we sub-consciously awaken texts we have previously read, undoubtedly bringing these texts, into the new text we are now writing. Furthermore, the world surrounding us will influence our writing, thus making our writing “a fabric of quotations resulting from […]

Translated Fiction Book Club: ‘Fate’

This week for the Translated Fiction Book Club, we had the pleasure of reading Fate, from Charco Press, written by Jorge Consiglio, and co-translated by Carolina Orloff. Set in the city of Buenos Aires, Fate follows the lives of a group of very different characters. First, we meet Amer, a taxidermist, who later falls for […]

Gender in Translation (2): Translating Grammatical Gender

Translating grammatical gender is something that a translator normally doesn’t have to think twice about. In most cases, the straightforward translation of ‘la’ and ‘le’ into ‘the’ is all that is required. But what about when these definite articles mean something much more? In his essay, On Linguistic Aspects of Translation, Roman Jakobson discusses the […]

Translated Fiction Book Club: ‘The Mussel Feast’

The last few weeks have been incredibly strange, for reasons we all know too well. I don’t want to dwell on this, as at the moment, this subject seems to be all we are receiving in our newsfeeds and the only topic of conversations with friends. I will say that I have been feeling quite […]

Translation as Reading

“A text’s unity lies not in its origins, or in its creator, but in its destination, or audience.” Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author This famous quote from Barthes The Death of the Author, states that what makes a text is its reader, its audience. Barthes discusses the idea that a text comes alive, […]

Translation, Emotion, and Embodiment

“I read with my body, I read and move to translate with my body, and my body is not the same as yours.” Kate Briggs, This Little Art (London: Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017) When we read a text, the first voice we hear is our own. This is because when we read a text we are reading through […]

Japan Now East: Reading and Workshop with Hiromi Itō and Jeffrey Angles

This week I was lucky enough to attend a discussion and reading with renowned Japanese poet and writer, Hiromi Itō, and her friend and translator into the English, Jeffrey Angles. The following day, I also attended the workshop ‘Translating Cultures’, which focused on the difficulties of translating Japanese culture and language specifities into English culture […]

Translated Fiction, a barrier?

Not so long ago I was at a translation event where a book publisher explained during a panel that the words ‘translated fiction’ or the appearance of a ‘translated by …’ on the front matter of a book have a significant effect on sales. Sadly, it seems that these words often scare people away and […]

What is the contemporary?

What is the contemporary, and how do we define the contemporary novel? These are two questions that are difficult to answer, two questions that many literary theorists have struggled with. In this post I do not attempt to do the impossible (or incredibly difficult) and define the un-definable, I do however wish to discuss some […]

Review: ‘La Naufragée du Lac des Dents Blanches’, by Patrice Gain

Written by Patrice Gain, and published by Le Mot et le Reste in 2016, La Naufragée du Lac des Dents Blanches explores serious issues both within France and Canada in a delicate and quite remarkable manner. Patrice Gain takes the dreadful and long-standing issues of the European refugee crisis, and treatment of indigenous Canadians, and intertwines them with a […]

Fluency in Translation: Avoiding Homogeneity and Ethnocentrism

Today, fluency is widely considered a necessity of literary translations into English. But what is fluency, and is it a goal to aim for in translating, or something we should avoid? First, we must address the question: what is fluency? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, one definition is ‘the ability to express oneself easily […]

Gender in Translation (1): Gender and Translation Theory

After writing my undergrad dissertation on postcolonial feminism, and centering many of my essays on feminist texts in translation and gender in writing, it quickly started to become clear that my academic interests were centering around two particular topics: feminism and gender. Continuing to combine these topics with ideas from my current MA in Literary […]

UEA Literary Festival: Tash Aw in Conversation

Last week Tash Aw visited the University of East Anglia as part of the UEA Literary Festival. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the wonderful event and thought what better way to start my blog than with a short piece on the talk! The evening was centered mainly on Aw’s new release: We, […]