The European Literature Night, a celebration of contemporary writing from all the European lands, is taking place tonight at the British Library in London. This year’s ELN is chaired by journalist Rosie Goldsmith, who’s long had a soft spot for literary translation. I know she cares a lot about it because we spoke together on a panel on translation at the London Book Fair last year. This year, Rosie celebrated the ELN in advance by presenting a list of her own favorite five recent translated books. Here are the first four of them:
The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke (Peirene Press), translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch
New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani (Dedalus), translated from the Italian by Judith Landry
Marcel by Erwin Mortier (Pushkin Press) translated from the Dutch by Ina Rilke
A Grain of Truth by Zygmunt Miloszewski (Bitter Lemon Press, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
As for the fifth book on Rosie’s list, The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain (Gallic Books), there is one thing gravely wrong with it: the publisher, Gallic Books, has apparently not identified the translator anywhere on the book, a fact for which Nicholas Lezard calls the publisher out in his review of the book in The Guardian, noting: “No translator is credited, except ‘Gallic Books.’ Odd that.” Odd indeed. A little research on the Gallic Books website informed me that the book was translated as a collaboration by several hands: Jane Aitken, Emily Boyce and Louise Rogers Lalaurie. All three of them should have been properly credited.
Click through to the We Love This Book website to read Rosie’s brief descriptions of each of the titles she selected.