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Translating Anne of Green Gables in Japan, April 1945

An excerpt from new book Anne’s Cradle: The Life and Works of Hanako Muraoka, Japanese Translator of Anne of Green Gables, by Eri Muraoka.

Although it was already mid-April, a cold snap had turned the day chilly and overcast. Here and there cherry blossom petals fluttered from branches that were already leafing out.

In the Muraoka residence in Omori, Hanako had finished cleaning up after dinner and was in the study, writing in the dim light of a small lamp shaded with air-raid blackout cloth. She had begun polishing her translation of Anne of Green Gables, a novel set in Canada, and was going over the section at the beginning where the orphan Anne arrives in Prince Edward Island and is captivated by its beauty.

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Canada, the birthplace of the book Hanako was furtively translating, was now an enemy. Slogans denouncing the Allied forces were used to whip up popular sentiment, and distorted accounts of Japanese military exploits had intensified the nation’s militaristic fervour with each passing day. What condemnation would society heap upon Hanako should it catch her translating a book from an enemy nation?

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Riding down an avenue of apple trees in a horse-drawn buggy, Anne gazes raptly at the canopy of snow-white blossoms arching overhead. As she does for everything she likes, she gives the road a new name: White Way of Delight.

What words, Hanako wondered, would convey to Japanese readers the inner world of this young girl endowed with such a rich imagination?

White Way means sh …

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The Chat with Kathy Page

Kathy Page high res credit Billie Woods

Last November, Kathy Page won the 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award for her compelling and thoroughly entertaining novel Dear Evelyn.

The tender story of a decades-long romance between Harry and Evelyn, the novel explores how time transforms our most intimate relationships. The Writers’ Trust jury writes, “By integrating themes that are universally understood by readers and skilfully crafting endearing characters that surprise and delight, Page has created a poignant literary work of art.”

Kathy Page is the author of ten previous books, two of which, Paradise & Elsewhere (2014) and The Two of Us (2016), were nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Other works include Alphabet, a Governor General’s Award finalist in 2005, The Story of My Face, longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002, and Frankie Styne and the Silver Man. Born in the UK, she moved to Salt Spring Island with her family in 2001, and now divides her time between writing and teaching at Vancouver Island University.

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THE CHAT WITH KATHY PAGE

Trevor Corkum: Dear Evelyn is a gorgeous, complicated portrayal of the 70-year relationship between Harry, a World War Two veteran, and his wife, Evelyn. Can you speak more about how these characters came to life for you?

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The Chat With Joy Kogawa

Kogawa-Joy-Author

TREVOR CORKUM cropped

It’s an honour to be in conversation this week with Joy Kogawa, Canadian literary legend and a determined and passionate voice for peace and reconciliation. We speak about her new memoir, Gently to Nagasaki.

 
Douglas Todd, writing in the Vancouver Sun, says “Gently to Nagasaki is a mature work of history and spirituality; bravely detailing the intersection between mass global evils and those perpetrated intimately by members of one’s own family. Kogawa’s memoir deeply explores how denial works in regards to racism, pedophilia, nuclear power, Canadian internment camps and Japanese war atrocities. It reveals how, in the midst of betrayal, there is still a place for trust.”

Joy Kogawa is the award-winning author of three novels, seven collections of poetry and two books for children. Obasan, which the New York Times called “a tour de force ... brilliantly poetic in its sensibility,” continues to be taught across North America, and the opera based on her children’s book Naomi’s Road has toured in Canada and the United States. Kogawa has …

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