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GGBooks Special: The Chat with Erín Moure

ErinMoure_Author Photo_Credit Karis Shearer

"Moure has crafted a spectacular English poem in conversation with the French—a work channelling science, art, revolution and corporeal movement balanced in stillness and space. It is a thrilling space where meanings are amplified, beauty reverberates and the reader’s expectations are exceeded again and again. Moure advances new possibilities for both Neveu’s poem and translation itself." —2021 GG's Peer Assessment Committee

Erín Moure has published over forty books, including poetry, essays, memoir, and translations/co-translations from French, Spanish, Galician, Portuguese, Portunhol, and Ukrainian. Recent translations: In Leaf by Rosalía de Castro, The Uplands: Book of the Courel by Uxío Novoneyra, and Sleepless Nights Under Capitalism by Juan Gelman. Moure holds two honorary doctorates from universities in Canada and Spain, was a 2017 Creative Fellow at Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room, and the 2019 International Translator-in-Residence at Queen’s College, Oxford. Moure lives in Montreal.

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Congrats on your Governor General’s Award for Translation, Erín. You’ve had a long and distinguished career, publishing over forty books, including many translations and co-translations. How does it feel to be recognized by your peers at this point in your …

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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 Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott

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The 2018 Governor General’s Award for Translation was awarded to the team of Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott for Descent into Night (Mawenzi House), their translation of Edem Awumey’s haunting novel Explication de la nuit.

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The jury assessment committee says "Descent into Night, translated by Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott, is a beautifully assured rendering of a text offering many translation challenges. The translators agilely follow the text as it shifts between an ailing Quebec writer’s regrets about his life, and his long-ago involvement in a failed West African revolution, which haunts him into the present. This translation skillfully captures the lyricism of the French text."

Phyllis Aronoff translates fiction, non-fiction and poetry, solo or with co-translator Howard Scott. Her most recent solo translations include Black Thursday, a memoir by French journalist Maurice Rajsfus, and Message Sticks, poems by the Innu writer Joséphine Bacon. The Wanderer, her translation of La Québécoite, by Régine Robin, received a Jewish Literary Awa …

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Giller Prize 2018 Special Series: The Chat with Éric Dupont

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Our next instalment of this year’s Giller special features our chat with Éric Dupont, author of Songs for the Cold of Heart (QC Fiction/Baraka Books), which was translated by Peter McCambridge.

The 2018 Giller Prize Jury says:

“Once upon a time in Quebec there was a girl named Madeleine. A tiny red headed waif with only a suitcase in her possession steps off a train in a frozen village, and a strapping Quebec man falls head over heels in love with her strangeness. A baby is born from this union that is so big, it manages to kill both its parents in childbirth. As magnificent a work of irony and magic as the boldest works of Gabriel García Márquez, but with a wholly original sensibility that captures the marvellous obsessions of the Quebecois zeitgeist of the twentieth century. It is without any doubt, a tour de force. And the translation is as exquisite as a snowflake.”

Born in 1970, Éric Dupont lives and works in Montreal. He has published four novels with Marchand de feuilles and in France with Éditions du Toucan and Éditions J’ai lu (Flammarion). He is a past winner of Radio-Canada’s “Combat des livres” (the equivalent of the CBC’s Canada Reads contest), a finalist for the Prix littéraire France—Québec and the Prix des cinq continents, …

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The Chat with 2017 Governor General's Award Winner (for Translation) Oana Avasilichioaei

Oana Avasilichioaei_Author Photo_Credit Pam Dick

Today we’re in conversation with Oana Avasilichioaei, translator of Bertrand Laverdure’s novel Lectodôme. Her English translation, Readopolis (BookThug) is the winner of this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation (French to English).

The jury citation reads: "In Readopolis, Oana Avasilichioaei has risen to and matched the stylistic acrobatics of Bertrand Laverdure’s Lectodôme. The many voices of Quebecois writing sing through in this intelligent translation – a vertiginous ode to the pure, if rarely rewarded, pursuit of literature."

Montreal-based writer, translator, and editor Oana Avasilichioaei has published five poetry collections, including Expeditions of a Chimæra (with Erín Moure; 2009), We, Beasts (2012; winner of the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry from the Quebec Writers’ Federation) and Limbinal (2015). Previous translations include Bertrand Laverdure’s Universal Bureau of Copyrights (2014; shortlisted for the 2015 ReLit Awards), Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa (co-translated with Ingrid Pam Dick; 2015), and Daniel Canty’s Wigrum (2013).

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The Chat With 2016 Giller Finalist Catherine Leroux

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We continue our 2016 Giller Prize coverage this week—generously sponsored by Publishing@SFU—by checking in with finalist Catherine Leroux. Leroux’s novel The Party Wall brims with exquisite storytelling. She weaves four distinct storylines into a complex work that questions what we believe about our emotional and physical memories.

The Giller jury’s citation reads, in part, “Intriguing, wise and strange, the novel reveals layers of love and tension that hold mystery yet keep a crystalline clarity. Leroux’s prose, beautifully translated by Lazer Lederhendler, never abandons aesthetic precision. Her story is always assured, yet remains open. Its architecture holds a centre pulsing with life.”

Catherine Leroux was born in 1979 in the northern suburbs of Montreal. After holding various jobs she became a journalist and devoted herself to writing. Her first novel, Marche en forêt, was published in 2011 by Éditions Alto, and her newest novel is Madame Victoria (Éditions Alto, 2015). The Party Wall, her English-language debut published with Biblioasis in 2016, was selected for Indies Introduce for Summer/Fall 2016.

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From Taxi Driver to Shenzheners: Publishing Xue Yiwei’s First Book in English

Book Cover Shenzheners

Publisher Linda Leith on how one of the most influential recent books in China came to be translated into English as part of the CanLit canon. 

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This story starts with Yan Liang, a Canadian friend who was born in China and lives in Montreal. She’s a journalist at Radio-Canada International and a distinguished literary translator into Chinese (she has translated Kim Thuy and Esi Edugyan, among others). A couple of years ago—in February 2014—she called me up to let me know about another Montrealer born in China, a writer named Xue Yiwei whose new short story collection, Taxi Driver (2013), had recently been chosen one of the most influential books of the year in China.

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By the time the three of us got together at Café Pekarna on Ste-Catherine Street on a wintry afternoon, Yan had sent me more information about Yiwei. I’d learned that his novel Desertion was one of the top ten 2012 books in China. That another novel, Dr. Bethune’s Children (2012,) had been banned in China for political reasons. That he was considered “the most charismatic …

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The Chat, With 2015 GGs Winner Rhonda Mullins (Translation)

In our continuing conversation with this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award winners, today I speak to Rhonda Mullins, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Translation for Twenty-One Cardinals (Les héritiers de la mine) by Jocelyne Saucier.

Rhonda Mullins is a translator whose work has been shortlisted for previous Governor General’s Awards, including her translations of Élise Turcotte’s Guyana (2014), Hervé Fischer’s The Decline of the Hollywood Empire (2007), and Saucier’s And the Birds Rained Down (2013), which was also a CBC Canada Reads selection in 2015. Rhonda Mullins studied and has taught translation at McGill University in Montréal, where she currently lives.

Of Twenty-One Cardinals, Publishers Weekly said: “This slim, tightly written novel masterfully tells a big story, flush in dark secrets, social commentary and an army of memorable characters.”

TheChat-GGs

 

THE CHAT WITH RHONDA MULLINS

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You’ve been a previous finalist for the Governor General’s Award. What was your first reaction to finding out you’d w …

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