Fiction · German · Translation

BCLT – a bustling community of lexical thrillseekers

Spent a fabulous week working rather intensively at the BCLT literary summer school with 11 inspiring people… Georgian-German writer Nino Harataschwili and German>English translator, Katy Derbyshire, and a fascinating and friendly group of 9 other German translators and enthusiasts. (See a sample of what we came up with here.)

Too tired to write much after a busy week translating, editing, mingling, sunbathing and catching up with old Norwich friends, so here’s some of the highlights for me, in no particular order…

* Personal history and geography lessons on the Georgian Civil War from Nino and on the ongoing tension between Russia, Georgia and Abkhazia

* Editing our sweary sex scene for rhythm and avoidance of Mills and Boon clichés with Jim Hinks from short story literary publisher Comma Press

* Hilarious discussion of the fabulous short novel Down the Rabbit Hole with translator Ros Harvey and founder of And Other Stories publishing house Stefan Tobler at the Millenium Library/Writers’ Centre Norwich

* Meeting so many inspiring translators and hearing of their routes into translation, literature and publishing… and putting faces to many names from the Emerging Translators’ Network, who I look forward to meeting up with again at International Translation Day if not before

* Lecture on interlingual translation: translating old woodblock print texts into typeprint Japanese. Academic and translator Michael Emmerich gave us a fascinating if challenging overview of the development of hiragana from a cursive style of kanji and the bizarre transformation of the eclectic and inefficient, but pretty and varied, calligraphic wood printing style into the more efficient, sparse – but harder to read – modern type fonts

* Rib-tickling multi-dialect presentation of a tiny story about a cat by Spanish author Daniel Gascón – I couldn’t make much of the Colombian and Argentinian Spanish re-translations but the Geordie, estuary and espeically the Welsh English translations were fantastic!

* Balmy evenings dining in the courtyard of the Mad Moose and the Belgian Monk

* The always reliable Norwich sunshine…

* Not directly related to BCLT, but the buzz of finishing and sending off my first commissioned sample for Bloomsbury – and the corresponding nice, nostalgic feeling of looking back at the year since my first BCLT summer school and all the wonderful ideas, contacts and literary translation experience that have come out of it

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