Katy Derbyshire is the translator of All the Lights by our very own Clemens Meyer. She’s currently working on a 927-page(!!) novel by Jan Brandt, while her most recent project weighs in at the other end of the scale - David Wagner’s Berlin Triptych, available from Readux Books.
For obscure reasons, literary translation is officially hot – to riff on Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit, it is badly paid but sexy. It’s a thing people want to learn. Over the past three or four years I’ve been asked to lead several workshops on literary translation, at various levels and in various places. Every time I do it I die a thousand deaths, never knowing whether I’m doing it right. And then along came bcltuea’s Summer School Summit, which, we were told, would “bring together experienced literary translators from the UK and around the world who are interested in translation workshops and teaching methodologies.”
Brand new short fiction by Montague Kobbe, inspired by Brazil’s loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final. As well as translating from Spanish (fans of futbol-related fiction should check out The Football Cronicas), Montague’s first novel The Night of the Rambler, is published by akashicbooks, and reviewed here by Jethro Soutar.
El Negro sat on the far corner of the half-empty bar, sipping unperturbed from his bottle of Brahma Chopp, quietly going over the details of what had just happened. He was almost unrecognisable in his grey suit and pressed white shirt, short hair gelled back in the style of the other Negro, Andrade, twenty years before him. Four times. Four times, Negro. Qué barbaridad. He shook his head lightly as he contemplated the magnitude of the achievement. The frost on the bottle of beer soon turned into a dew that flowed, like tears, down the face of the green glass. And we’re but a little country, che, a tiny little country. Four times champions of the world, Negro. Can you believe it? And he couldn’t.
There could hardly be a more apropos time for the English publication of Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World. For, in its nine short chapters, this remarkable novel explores not only the timeless themes of epic journey, death, and the underworld, but also many of the pressing issues of our times: migration, immigration (and two of its stomach-churning corollaries, so-called nativism and profiling), transnationalism, transculturalism, and language hybridity – not to mention, of course, the end of the world.
When And Other Stories asked me to edit the first English translation of Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, I was excited because I’d heard about this young Mexican who was being hailed as the great new voice, though I hadn’t yet read him. The original work was bewitching (and slightly mystifying too, before I “got” what it was doing). I’d never read anything quite like it: a story about a journey – the classic quest to find and rescue a loved one who’d been put in danger – that was at once contemporary and timeless, in a language that was at once crude and delicate, of the streets and of myth.