It seems that at some point in the last few months I started saying ‘yes’ to all the projects I was offered, instead of ‘no’, so it has turned into another busy year.
These are the many books and stories I have (co-)translated, or am in the process of translating, this year. They’re all set to be published in 2019.
2 Syrian picture books
Nour’s Escape – Abir Ali, illustrated by Gulnar Hajo
The Dot that Couldn’t Sit Still – Gulnar Hajo
I’ve translated two picture books for Darf Publishing, both illustrated by the amazing Gulnar Hajo, Syrian author and illustrator, and co-founder with Samer Kadri of Bright Fingers Publishing House and Pages Bookshop – the first Arabic-language bookshop in Istanbul and Amsterdam.
I was delighted when I found that Nour’s story has already been translated into Catalan by Valèria Macías Pagès, published in a beautiful edition by Mosaics Llibres. Of course, I couldn’t resist getting a copy to compare how it’s been translated, as there are some tricky bits. For example, there’s an idiom that doesn’t translate directly into English, and yet it’s illustrated so I have to include it somehow.
Walks in the Wild – Peter Wohlleben
This lovely book is the second I’ve translated by Germany’s bestselling nature writer and forester, and possibly the 5th out in English (the others are brilliantly translated by Jane Billinghurst). This book is the main job that has been keeping me busy, and very happy, this year.
Forthcoming in spring 2019, from Rider Books (from German)
Trees for Absentees – Ahlam Bsharat
A dreamy and sometimes philosophical novella narrated from the perspective of a teenage Palestinian girl who starts a part-time job in a hammam, washing women’s bodies and walking in the footsteps of her late grandmother who was the local corpse washer and washer of newborn babies. This is a touching reflection on grief and the mechanisms we create to cope with the loss of loved ones – be it a deceased granny or an imprisoned father. And a thoughtful reminder of how an indefinite prison sentence can traumatise a family as deeply as unexplained death, and how we resort to the imagination in an effort to make sense of trauma. Perhaps it has an allegorical thread musing on trees (olive trees?) as a symbol of resistance and resilience in the face of efforts by occupying Israel to erase the memory and heritage of Palestine.
Forthcoming from Neem Tree Press, spring 2019 (co-translation with Sue Copeland, from Arabic)
The Magic Story Shop – Katja Frixe
I thoroughly enjoyed translating this gorgeous middle grade novel, with yet more talking animals (see The Raven’s Children and The Knight, the Cat and the Ballerina). This one has a cat that speaks in rhyming couplets – a lovely challenge to chip away at over the summer.
‘This is Clara’s favourite place in the whole world. Here, Clara can settle down and get lost in one of the many books, joke around with Gustaf the rhyming cat, and get advice from Mr King the talking mirror. Not only does Mrs Owl love to give out chocolate cake, she also has a book tip for every mood. But when an antiques dealer claims the mirror is actually his and tries to take it back, Mrs Owl is distraught. Clara and her new friends must find a way to save the bookshop – and Mr King.’
The Book of Cairo
I’m translating a short story by Eman Abdel-Rahim called Two Sisters for Comma Press’s English PEN funded anthology of Egyptian writing set in the capital, Cairo. Edited by Raph Cormack and out in 2019
A History of the World with the Women Put Back In – Ute Daenschel / Kerstin Lücker
I’m co-translating this fantastic history title with Jessica West for The History Press. It’s a very accessible feminist history of the world, aimed at teenagers but also perfect for adult readers who are new to global history or keen to get a new perspective on the traditionally masculine narrative of history.
By Kerstin Lücker and Uta Daenschel, it’s a history of sexism, of the ideas and assumptions that allowed misogyny to become so entrenched worldwide. It explores world history looking at the rise and fall of religions and ideas about society and about how to live, asking have we always been patriarchal, and if not where and when did it all start?
This is my autumn project, so in September I take the baton from Jess and pick up my half of the text somewhere around Jeanne d’Arc and the Spanish Inquisition and the rise of the nation state. I may have said this before about other books, but this is possibly my dream translation project.
Planned publication date: September 2019, from The History Press
(co-translation with Jessica West, from German)