Posts

In conversation with... Nashwa Gowanlock

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Hi Nashwa! Thank you for joining me today. I have just finished reading Shatila Stories, which you translated from the Arabic to English, and I’d like to ask you a few questions both on this specific book and more generally on translation. So let’s begin…

How did you get started in literary translation?

A: Thanks for reading! I have been translating since I was a child really, although translating literature came relatively recently. Having been raised bilingual I always found myself interpreting elements of my native Egyptian culture to my friends in England, particularly when it came to customs, concepts and jokes without a direct equivalent in English. I also translated a great deal in my work as a journalist over the years. But I came to literary translation as a necessity when I was looking for work that didn’t involve commuting to London after I moved away from the capital. Since I love reading and creative writing, it seemed natural to combine my skills and passion by taking part…

Book review: It All Falls Down + competition

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By Sheena Kamal
Published by BonnierZaffre

Synopsis: When Nora Watts is approached by a man claiming to know her late father, she is thrown into turmoil. Struggling with the imminent death, from cancer, of her friend and mentor Sebastian Crow, she is unprepared for the memories that this encounter brings back. What happened to her father that made him kill himself and abandon Nora and her sister?

Heading to Detroit to try and find some answers about his life there, Nora expects to discover a reason behind his suicide. Instead, she finds more questions than answers.

How did this book end up in my hands? I won a copy of this book ahead of publication date. I’m on a lucky streak!

Was it a page-turner? Totally. It took me some time to get into the book because I felt like there was something missing. Or – better – that I was missing something. Turns out I was right and – even though this can be read as a stand-alone novel – it is the second book featuring Nora Watts and there is a lot of backs…

In conversation with... Sandra Ireland

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Hi Sandra! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Bone Deep. Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Bone Deep asks the question, what happens when you fall in love with the wrong person? The consequences threaten to be far-reaching and potentially deadly. Bone Deep is a contemporary novel of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal and murder. This is the story of two women: Mac, who is bent on keeping the secrets of the past from her only son, and the enigmatic Lucie, whose past is something of a closed book. Their story is underpinned by the creaking presence of an abandoned water mill, and haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, themselves rivals in love, and ready to point an accusing finger from the pages of history.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing or did it develop before your eyes as the characters grew on the page and did something that you were not expecting?

A: I had an idea where it was going, …

Book review: The Hope Fault + competition

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By Tracy Farr
Published by Aardvark Bureau

Synopsis: In Cassetown, Geologue Bay, Iris and her extended family ― her ex-husband and his wife and their new baby; her son and her best friend’s daughter ― gather on a midwinter long weekend, to pack up the family holiday house now that it has been sold. They are together for one last time, one last weekend, one last party. As the house is stripped bare, their secrets ― and the complex, messy nature of family relationships ― will be revealed.

How did this book end up in my hands? I received an advance review copy by the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.

Was it a page-turner? Even though I wanted to know what would happen during the weekend in Cassetown, I took my time to savour this book. The language is very poetic and the author uses different narrative strategies that made me want to pause to take it all in.

Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? When it comes to the synopsis, yes, it is a fair representation …

In conversation with... Lexie Elliott

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Hi Lexie! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The French Girl. Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you! The French Girl explores the shifting relationships, and memories, of London-based recruiter Kate as she becomes entangled in a murder investigation following the discovery of a body at the French farmhouse in which she and her university friends holidayed ten years ago.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing or did it develop before your eyes as the characters grew on the page and did something that you were not expecting?

A: The general arc of the plot was fairly well established when I started, but the big surprise was Severine. I hadn’t intended her to be much more than a pile of bones (that’s not exactly a plot spoiler, as she’s dead by page 2), but she had other ideas and somewhat built out her part, so to speak! And the novel is all the better for it, so I’m enormously grateful to her. In fact, s…

Book review: Ascension + competition

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By Victor Dixen
Translated from the French by DanielHahn
Published by Hot Key Books

Synopsis: Six girls, six boys. Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship. They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras. They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world's craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.

Leonor, an 18 year old orphan, is one of the chosen ones.
She has signed up for glory.
She has signed up for love.
She has signed up for a one-way ticket. Even if the dream turns to a nightmare, it is too late for regrets.
How did this book end up in my hands? I won a copy of this book ahead of its publication date. I didn’t pay enough attention at the time and I wasn’t aware that this is the first book in a trilogy. It wouldn’t have stopped me from wanting it but I might have waited to read it closer to the publication date of the second book in the series.
Was …

In conversation with... Daniel Hahn

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Hi Daniel! Thank you for joining me today. I have just finished reading Ascension, which you translated from the French to English, and I’d like to ask you a few questions both on this specific book and more generally on translation. So let’s begin…

How did you get started in literary translation?

A: Hi Silvia. Like a lot of people (especially those who started more than a few years ago), I started more or less by accident. A publisher friend asked me to read a book she was considering for publication and tell her what I thought of it; I read it, and told her it was brilliant, and she asked me to translate it, and I said yes. It seemed like a sensible idea at the time, tho’ I’m not so sure now…

What did you think when you were first approached to work on Dixen’s first book in the Phobos trilogy? Is this a genre you enjoy translating?

A: I haven’t translated anything like this before, but I do read and work with a lot of YA writing (not specifically speculative stuff, just more generally),…