Four on Friday: Translations, the Kerry Group award, Ulysses liberated and Mike McCarthy on TV

Translation is experiencing something of a rebirth. Half of the shortlist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award announced recently were originally published in a language other than English, while a small outfit such as Peirene Press is forging a solid reputation as a translator of note – Peirene’s canon of novellas (four books and one theme each year) are now available in Chapters Books.

So Rosita Boland’s piece on the art of translation, in the Irish Times culture blog section today, is a timely one.

“Translation is the art of losses, you always have to lose something,” says one translator succinctly; thinking about loss while engaging in the creative process is quite artful in itself.

I particularly like the line from András Imreh, who has translated the work of Seamus Heaney into Hungarian:

I had never been to any bog, because there are none in Hungary. I was taken to one here. I don’t remember any concrete words or individual metaphors that were solved as a result of the visit, but seeing the bog gave me a wall to put my back to.

The shortlist for this year’s Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year was announced this week, with Lucy Caldwell, Gavin Corbett, Claire Kilroy, Kathleen MacMahon and Thomas O’Malley making the grade.

There are summaries of the novels and extensive quotes from all five shortlisted authors, as well as adjudicator Robert McCrum, over here.

Here’s what O’Malley, nominated for This Magnificent Desolation (Bloomsbury), had to say:

You write in isolation and you have your good days and your bad days and sometimes the sense that anyone will ever read your work let alone understand and appreciate what you’re attempting to do seems very far away indeed, yet it is the hope and faith that some audience out there will connect to your work that, in part, sustains you as you write.

this-magnificent-desolationI’ve yet to read This Magnificent Desolation, but it ranks as the best cover of any Irish book I’ve seen this year (right).

James Joyce must be out of copyright, right? There’s hardly a week that goes by without another Joyce story or treatment or evolution. My favourite this week is on a crowdfunding project to publish a fine print edition of The Works of Master Poldy, undertaken by Irishman Jamie Murphy and American Steve Cole of Liberate Ulysses.

More on the project, the basis of which lies in a line from Molly Bloom’s soliloquy at the end of Ulysses, and which aims to find funding through crowd-investment tool Indiegogo, can be found here.

Writes Billy Mills in the Guardian:

There’s something about a well-made physical object with good design, quality materials and fine printing that no digital substitute can match.

Amen to that.

Finally this week, a pointer to the TV3 Player for an interview with acclaimed Mayo writer Mike McCormack on his new edition of Getting It In The Head, amongst other writing related diversions.

Not long before he was signed by Lilliput Press a couple of years ago, he said, he was doing a reading in Dublin when…

one person showed up, and I think she’d just ducked in out of the rain.

A couple of books and TV appearances later, things are a fair bit rosier these days.

Unfortunately the show isn’t broken into segments on the TV3 website so you might have to sit through a full HD streamed ad break and a bit of other fluffy stuff from Sybil and Martin before you get to the Mike McCormack interview. No-one said it had to be easy, but in the interest of saving you from the worst of it, the interview starts at around the 28:30 mark.

The Morning Show, Wednesday, April 17th

Would you like to join the Irish Writing Blog online book club? The April choice is Strumpet City by James Plunkett – more details here.

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