2013:2 Issue

Editorial2013:2 Issue

‘Translator as superstar’ may sound an unlikely concept, but there was no other way to describe the mood at the recent visit to the London Review Bookshop by Edith Grossman, US translator of Cervantes’ Don Quixote and many other works from Spanish. With the profile of the profession on the rise, an increasing number of events are bringing together working literary translators, academics and/or publishing-house editors. As one example of this, the December 2012 issue of The Warwick Review resulted from a symposium that yielded highly approachable personal views from leading British literary translators such as Anthea Bell, Margaret Jull Costa and Tim Parks. Also recommended is the Summer 2013 issue of the UK Translators Association journal In Other Words, which offers insights from practising translators and many others in the ‘translation chain’.

This issue of SBR spotlights translation, too. We present the second in a series of translation workshop reports, revealing some of the cultural and linguistic pitfalls facing the literary translator from Swedish. We also present survey findings about the number of languages from which translators of ‘Scandinavian’ typically work, and hear from translators helping a new Swedish literary journal get onto its bilingual feet.

The Bookshelf section this autumn is the usual satisfying mix, particularly rich in fiction reviews, and the translated extracts in this issue are equally diverse.  The first translation, accompanied by an illuminating essay, is a set of pieces from the latest novel by veteran author Kerstin Ekman, 80 this year and still writing with the same verve, intelligence and mischievous wit as ever.  Where many Swedish authors today begin as literary writers and then take to crime writing, she went the opposite way, diversifying from her early detective fiction into an oeuvre of amazing breadth and quality.

An impassioned article on hospitals and patients, incorporating extracts from fiction by Kristian Petri and a documentary work by Maciej Zaremba, takes the lid off the distressing distortions caused by letting market forces rule European health services today.  Then there is a whimsical story from a prolific and popular author perhaps less known of late, Stig Claesson, and finally we have an intriguing extract from Mikael Niemi’s unusual thriller Fallwater, in which the ‘villain’ is an unstoppable force of nature.

In a further nod to the crime fiction phenomenon that has propelled some translators in the Nordic field rather closer to star status, we have an iconic cover image familiar to TV viewers and a piece from leading crime reviewer Barry Forshaw, hijacked from the mainstream to become what might be called ‘the voice of Nordic noir’ in the UK, about a new prize for translated Scandinavian crime fiction set up in memory of late colleague Maxine Clarke.

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What's Wrong With Entertainment? Kerstin Ekman's Grand final i skojarbranschen (Grand Finale in the Trickster's Trade)

Helena Forsås-Scott presents an illuminating essay on Grand final i skojarbranschen by Kerstin Ekman, who is 80 this year and still writing with the same verve, intelligence and mischievous wit as ever.

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from Grand Finale in the Trickster's Trade

Translated and introduced by Linda Schenck

Linda Schenck introduces and presents her translation of extracts from Kerstin Ekman's Grand Finale in the Trickster's Trade. Leading novelist Lillemor Troj gets to read a manuscript threatening to reveal that the books she has published over the past fifty years have been written by a ghostwriter.

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Campaigning Literature. Kristian Petri, My Dad and Maciej Zaremba, The Price of the Patient

These two slim volumes present facts, arguments and narratives that make up a case against what both authors believe is a social wrong. Both are ‘literary’, in the sense that they are exceptionally well-written human documents, gripping and thoughtful by turns. There the similarity ends; the books differ in several significant ways.

 

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Graybeard the Tomte

Translated and introduced by Paul Goldsman

Stig Claesson (1928-2008) was a celebrated figure in modern Swedish literature, and in addition a highly-regarded illustrator. Paul Goldsman introduces and presents his translation of ‘Graybeard the Tomte’, taken from 21 Sagor (21 Tales, 1988), one of Claesson’s collections of children’s stories.

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Time-Travelling Translators: Report on a Literary Translation Workshop

When twenty-first-century translators work on a twenty-first-century novel that’s set in Sweden in the mid-1980s, to what extent should they attempt to recreate the language used in that earlier time? What efforts should they make to accommodate the expectations and background knowledge of contemporary English-speaking readers? These are some of the questions SELTA members addressed at a translation workshop in May 2013. Ruth Urbom presents her report on the workshop.

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Up-and-coming Experimental Writing Finds a New Home

Const Literary (P)review was started by Maria Mårsell and Ida Therén to give a platform for up-and-coming writers, as a reaction to the conservative literary scene in Sweden. Nichola Smalley and Anna Tebelius present an overview of the new publication.

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Who Actually Are Translators of the Scandinavian Languages (And What Are They Paid)?

In 2012 Ian Giles conducted a study of ‘Scandinavian’ translators working with Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish as at least one of their source languages alongside a ‘European’ control group working with at least one of French, German, Italian, or Spanish as source language. Here he presents his findings.

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Keeping Secrets: Presenting the First Petrona Award

Maxine Clarke, who wrote about crime fiction as 'Petrona', died far too young, and this award, named after her, recognises the best work in translated crime fiction. Barry Forshaw presents a report on the presentation of the first Petrona Award.

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from Fallwater

Translated by Laurie Thompson

Laurie Thompson presents his translation of Chapter 5 of Mikael Niemi's dramatic story, which reads like a tense psychological action thriller, focusing on a group of people and how they are affected by the disaster of a hydroelectric dam bursting in the very north of Sweden.


BOOKSHELF: REVIEWS, edited by Anna Paterson

Nymfens TidSusanne Axmacher, Nymfens Tid (Season of the Nymph)

Wahlström & Widstrand, 2013.

Reviewed by Kevin Halliwell ▸Read Review


FörrädareOla Larsmo, Förrädare (Traitors)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2012.

Reviewed by Anna-Lisa Murrell ▸Read Review


Den bästa dagen är en dag av törstJessica Kolterjahn, Den bästa dagen är en dag av törst (The Best Day Is a Day of Thirst)

Forum, 2013.

Reviewed by Dominic Hinde ▸Read Review


FeberflickanElisabeth Östnäs, Feberflickan (The Fever Girl)

Columbi Publishing, 2012.

Reviewed by Janny Middelbeek-Oortgiesen ▸Read Review


I enslighet framfödtAnita Salomonsson, I enslighet framfödt (Brought Forth in Despair)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by Tuva Tod ▸Read Review


Vägen mot bålbergetTherése Söderlind, Vägen mot bålberget (The Road to Stake Mountain)

Wahlström & Widstrand, 2013.

Reviewed by Agnes Broome ▸Read Review


Liknelseboken: En kärleksromanPer Olov Enquist, Liknelseboken: En kärleksroman (The Book of Parables: A Romantic Novel)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by Rick McGregor ▸Read Review


JungfrustenenMichael Mortimer, Jungfrustenen (The Maidenstone)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by Nichola Smalley ▸Read Review


FjärilseffektenKarin Alvtegen, Fjärilseffekten (The Butterfly Effect)

Brombergs, 2013.

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review


ViolenciaLina Hagelbäck, Violencia

Brombergs, 2013.

Reviewed by Anna Tebelius ▸Read Review


HelioskatastrofenLinda Boström Knausgård, Helioskatastrofen (The Helios Disaster)

Modernista, 2013.

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review


Philip Teir, Vinterkriget. En äktenskapsroman (The Winter War. A Novel about a Marriage)

Schildts & Söderströms, 2013.

Reviewed by Željka Černok ▸Read Review


Dimma över DarjeelingMikael Bergstrand, Dimma över Darjeeling (Darjeeling Mist)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by Kristina Sjögren ▸Read Review


Mördaren ljuger inte ensamMaria Lang, Mördaren ljuger inte ensam (The Murderer Doesn't Lie Alone)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by Irene Scobbie ▸Read Review


Farligt att förtäraMaria Lang, Farligt att förtära (Harmful if Eaten)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by Irene Scobbie ▸Read Review


Inte flera mord!Maria Lang, Inte flera mord! (No More Murders!)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by Irene Scobbie ▸Read Review


Jobs bokUlf Lindström, Jobs bok (The Book of Job)

Wahlström & Widstrand, 2013.

Reviewed by James Walker ▸Read Review


En sekund i tagetSofia Nordin, En sekund i taget (One Second at a Time)

Rabén & Sjögren, 2013.

Reviewed by Kristina Sjögren ▸Read Review


SkuggsidanPer Gustavsson, Skuggsidan (Shadowside)

Natur och Kultur, 2013.

Reviewed by Charlotte Berry ▸Read Review


Sigrid och NattenJöns Mellgren, Sigrid och Natten (Sigrid and the Night)

Natur och Kultur, 2013.

Reviewed by Charlotte Berry ▸Read Review


Operation Norssken: om Stasi och Sverige under kalla krigetChristoph Andersson, Operation Norssken: om Stasi och Sverige under kalla kriget (Operation Northern Lights: Sweden and the Stasi during the Cold War)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by John Gilmour ▸Read Review


PappanKristian Petri, Pappan (My Dad)

Weyler förlag, 2013.

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review


Patientens prisMaciej Zaremba, Patientens pris (The Cost of the Patient)

Weyler förlag, 2013.

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review


En mänsklighet i mänsklighetenStaffan Skott, En mänsklighet i mänskligheten (A Humanity Within Humanity)

Norstedts, 2013.

Reviewed by B.J. Epstein ▸Read Review


Hitler's Scandinavian LegacyJohn Gilmour and Jill Stephenson (eds.), Hitler's Scandinavian Legacy

Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review


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