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An Interview with translator Alison Anderson

This week Alison Anderson will be appearing on the 9th of March at Center of the Art of Translation and on the 6th live on American radio show West Coast Live. Alison is one of our most talented and most trusted translators. She has translated seven books for us, including Muriel Barbery's best-selling The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Her forthcoming translations include A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé, and Amélie Nothomb's Hygiene and the Assassin.

Following, a snippet from Scott Esposito's interview with Alison:

Scott Esposito: On your blog you note that Onitsha, your translation by 2008 Nobel laureate JMG Le Clézio, was one of your first serious translations. How was it that you happened upon Le Clézio a good 15 years before most American had heard of him, and what was it about this book that drew you in?

Alison Anderson: I had recently moved to San Francisco from Europe and was suffering from culture shock and nostalgia, so I signed up at the Alliance Française to be able to use their library. There was a copy of Le Chercheur d’or (The Prospector) on the new bookshelf; I read it and was enthralled, discovering an entire new world, both the strange distant world of Mauritius Le Clézio describes, and the slow, evocative prose I find so compelling. I immediately wanted to translate it but it had already been done, by Carol Marks. A few years later when I read Onitsha I found that same evocative world, and prose—so different from the plot-driven novels in English—and I set off on the long, hard—naïve—path of trying to find a publisher, but eventually found a sympathetic editor at Nebraska.


Read the complete interview on Two Words

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