Gringa Reads


Events, NewsZoe Perry1 Comment

It's now mid-May and things have been pretty quiet on the blog all this year. So what have I been up to, and what's on the schedule ahead? It's been a busy year so far for translation, which has made me very happy and kept me busy. In the last few months I've packed in translations of two novels by Brazilian authors that will both be out by late summer. The first is Elza: The Girl by Sergio Rodrigues, to be published by AmazonCrossing in September (October in the UK). I also translated Paulo Coelho's latest novel, Adultery, a collaboration with Margaret Jull Costa. It will be published by Knopf in the US in August, and Hitchinson in the UK. Somewhere in there I also translated a brilliant short story by João Ximenes Braga for Comma Press's Book of Rio, called "The Woman Who Slept With a Horse". It's available now.

I found much less success (and spent much less time) reading. I've picked up a few books that I wasn't quite excited enough about to mention here on the blog, most of them put down half-way, never to be picked up again. It's frustrating, but I've got some new releases coming my way, and have been digging into short stories, looking for new authors and new material.

In April I attended the London Book Fair, whose Literary Translation Centre was busier and better than ever. Another interesting, inspiring and exhausting week of all-things literary translation. Brazil was noticeably absent from the fair, and as translators shuttled off to parties and meetings with their respective source countries, I was left shaking my head as I passed stand after stand from everywhere from Estonia to Croatia to Mexico to Japan. Everywhere BUT Brazil. But I was stoked to run across this display in all its 9-foot glory:

At that point I was one of only about five people who knew I was the translator, but hey, it didn't keep me from doing a little skip.

There have also been a few noteworthy publications of Brazilian books in English already this year, and it's shaping up to be a record-breaker for Brazilian literature in translation. I read the brilliant and darkly humorous Family Heirloomsby Zulmira Ribeiro Tavares from Frisch & Co, translated by Daniel Hahn. Also out are Hotel Brasilby Frei Betto from Bitter Lemon, translated by Jethro Soutar, and With My Dog Eyes by the incredible Hilda Hist, translated by Adam Morris and published by Melville House.

There are lots of events on the horizon, too, starting with what promises to be a very cool discussion on Brazilian poetry at the Brighton Festival with poet Angélica Freitas and translators Hilary Kaplan and Daniel Hahn.

At the end of May, Book Expo America will focus on literary translation, with this year's Global Market Forum entitled “Books In Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word.” It sounds like it will be inspired by the LBF's Literary Translation Centre. Just as a sidenote, as further proof that the US continues to lag far behind the UK when it comes to fostering the community of literary translators, the BEA doesn't appear to offer a one-day ticket, meaning attendees have to fork over a few hundred bucks (compared to the £15 I spent for a three-day pass to LBF) even if they just want to attend the one-day Global Market Forum. I had thought I'd be able to swing a trip to New York to join in, but unfortunately it's not going to happen. All the more reason to plan for the ALTA conference in November!

On June 2 there will be an event called 'From Rio to River: A Short Tour of Latin America' at the Free Word Centre to launch both The Book of Rio and The Football Crónicas, a collection from Ragpicker Press, founded by fellow translator Jethro Soutar.

This summer, of course, is the World Cup in Brazil. Smack in the middle of it will be Translate in the City, a literary translation summer school offering workshops in nine languages (the Portuguese group will be led by Danny Hahn, who led the BCLT summer school last year). There are still spaces available. I did the same summer school in 2012, when it was held at Birkbeck and can honestly say it was life-changing. Do it.

And shortly after the World Cup ends, the BCLT, in partnership with the British Council, the Brazilian National Library Foundation and the Universidade Federal Fluminense are hosting the first-ever translation winter school in beautiful Paraty, on the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. It will be strategically just before Flip festival. Just the idea of it makes my heart beat faster.