What I translated in 2017… and what’s out in 2018

This year has been an extremely busy one with some very enjoyable and satisfying books to translate.

I’ve fulfilled a personal ambition: I was hoping to translate one novel from each of my three languages by the time I was 40, which I’ve managed with a couple of years to spare! It’s also been a longstanding ambition to get into children’s books, and I’ve started off with some pretty awesome middle-grade fiction: Kathrin Rohmann’s Apple Cake and Baklava (from German) and Yulia Yakovleva’s The Raven’s Children (from Russian).

It’s been a pleasure to work on some fantastic non-fiction including a very stylish craft/DIY book for kids (Phaidon) and the first of two Peter Wohlleben books I’ve been asked to translate for Rider Books. Given the phenomenal success of Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees (translated by Jane Billinghurst), it’s a great honour to be trusted with two more of his delightful books. I very much enjoyed co-translating with the brilliant Jessica West this year and hope we might do another book together soon.

These are the books I’ve got coming out in 2018 – including co-translations.

Sourya Photo Album

This is a beautiful if heartbreaking photography book exploring the daily life of Syrians displaced in their own country and living in refugee camps. it was produced by the charity ASML and sales of the book will finance their work assisting independent journalists in distress.

Nashwa Gowanlock and I translated the foreword by Syrian writer Samar Yazbek.


Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations

Featuring Anoud ., Wajdi al-Ahdal, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, Najwa Bin Shatwan, Rania Mamoun, Fereshteh Molavi & Zaher Omareen.

I translated Bird of Paradise by Sudanese author Rania Mamoun for this dazzling collection of short stories by writers from the countries targeted by the US travel ban. It’s edited by Sarah Cleave for Comma Press and also out in the US with Deep Vellum press.

Out on 25 January 2018

apple cake baklava

Apple Cake and Baklava, by Kathrin Rohmann (Darf Publishers)

This is a lovely novel for late primary kids and early secondary (roughly 8-12) about asylum, how it feels to be a refugee, parallels between WWII and Syria, grandmas, recipes, a lost walnut that means the world and a budding friendship between Max and Leila.

Thanks Darf for including my name on the cover! It also has beautiful illustrations throughout by Franziska Harvey.

Out on 2 April

Now Make This!

Now Make This by Thomas Bärnthaler (Phaidon UK)

Co-translation with Jessica West

For the young makers in the family, this beautifully designed handbook offers 24 unique and practical objects for kids to make and use. Each project features fully-illustrated step-by-step instructions, a photographic list of materials, the approximate cost, timing, and a photograph of the finished product. The 24 contributors range from lauded graphic designers to successful industrial designers, all of whom considered this young audience in the creation of their projects. This unusual and engaging book of activities grants children access to world-class design in their very own homes, and may even inspire a few to become designers themselves! [Phaidon’s blurb]

Out on 27 April

raven's children ENglish

The Raven’s Children, by Yulia Yakovleva (Puffin, Penguin Random House)

Leningrad, 1938.

When Shura and Tanya’s parents and little brother suddenly disappear in the middle of the night, it’s rumoured that they have been taken by the mysterious Black Raven – and that their parents were spies.

Tanya and Shura are determined to find their family – and so Shura decides to hand himself in to the Raven. He is taken to the Grey House, where everyone is given a new name and a set of grey clothes, and everyone seems to forget their families and who they really are.

Now Shura must do everything he can to cling on to his memories, and to escape…

This wonderful novel for children aged 9+ was one of the 4 honour titles in the Book Trust In Other Words competition 2017.

Out on 31 May

weather detective US

The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature’s Secret Signs, by Peter Wohlleben (Rider Books UK and Dutton Books USA)

Translated with masses of help from Jessica West

If you are in the slightest, tiniest bit interested in nature walks or gardening, you will LOVE this. I had so much fun translating it and I learned something new on every page. It’s full of insight into trees, soil types, compost, fungi, hair ice, plant galls, seed dispersal, bird song … all kinds of amazing things about nature that you can discover from the comfort of your garden or local green space. Despite the title, it’s about a lot more than just weather.

Out on 7 June


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