Daniel Bourrion’s “I Was Robert Smith”

And thanks to you, Mr Smith.

My translation of Daniel Bourrion’s “I Was Robert Smith” is in the new issue of Drunken Boat. I loved translating this moody, meandering story. The text felt far more personal that most of the work I’ve translated, as I mentioned in my Translator’s note at the end of the story. Rarely do I get to draw on my own awkward adolescence for inspiration! Thanks so much to Daniel Bourrion and Publie.net for permission to publish this translation with Drunken Boat. And thanks to the wonderful editors at DB for their valuable edits, and for giving this story a home!

Oriol & Zidrou’s Bearskin



Prolific Belgian writer Zidrou collaborated with young French artist Oriol on this original imagining of 1930s mafioso life in fictional Stoneville, USA. While some of Zidrou’s children’s comics have been published in English, this is the first English translation of any of his adult graphic novels. Read an interview with the authors here (in French).

Back to School

I just enrolled at Aix-Marseille University, for a two-year masters program entitled “Traduction littéraire et transferts culturels” (Literary Translation and Cultural Transference). This has long loomed as my next step as a translator, and I’m so glad to finally be taking it.

Just to give vent to some of my excitement about going back to school, here’s a list of classes I’m taking this semester:

Théories et pratiques de la traduction 
Réception et critique littéraire
Mouvements en littérature européenne
Traduction version
Traduction thème
Littérature russe et mondiale
Méthodologie de la recherche en littérature

All these classes are in French, of course, which is exactly what I wanted. After four years back in the States, I needed to be in France and steep in the language some more. I’m also looking forward to developing some insight into the experience of French literary translators, and the workings of French book markets. It’s a new experience to be spending my days discussing my profession, in my source language.

I will continue accepting freelance translation projects while I’m in school.

French Corner at the Book Cellar

The sublime Book Cellar in Chicago’s Lincoln Square just started their own “French Corner,” a bookcase devoted to books in French, or translated from French. They’re hosting a launch event on Friday, June 26, with the French Consulate in Chicago. There will be readings from Kettly Mars’ Savage Seasons, translated by Jeanine Herman, and Luc Lang’s Cruel Tales from the 13th Floor, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. Herman and Nicholson-Smith will have a Q & A (over Skype). The French Consulate has created reading guides for these books, to encourage book clubs and other readers to delve into contemporary French fiction in translation. And, they’ve asked yours truly to present the reading guides at the event! I was already eager to attend (French books! Great bookstore! Wine! Cheese!), but I’m truly delighted to be a part of it now, too.