Jehanne Jean-Charles’ “Annie” at Weird Fiction Review

February 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Jehanne Jean-Charles

My translation of Jehanne Jean-Charles’ story “Annie” is up at Weird Fiction Review. Jean-Charles is a forgotten female French fabulist of whom her editor, Jean-Jacques Pauvert, once said: “If she were English, she’d be read the world over.” Which is true; she’d be as beloved as Saki, or Roald Dahl (for adults). I can’t beat Adam Mill’s introduction to the story—go read it!—so here’s a snippet below:

That night, I had a dream. I got up, but saw my body still resting there beside Jacques. My chest gently rose and fell. My red hair lay spread over the pillow. I gazed on myself without pleasure, and even with a kind of antipathy. Then I looked at Jacques and found him handsome, experiencing the same feeling of mocking antipathy all the while.

Then my dream-double went downstairs and, quick and quiet, slipped outside without so much as the creak of a door.

Outside was the marten, and my double approached it. In the dream, I was madly happy to see the marten again, and begged it: “Let me live your life a while.”


Apply for the 2013 Clarion Writers’ Workshop!

February 25th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

What is Clarion?

Clarion is an intensive six-week summer program focused on fundamentals particular to the writing of science fiction and fantasy short stories. It is considered a premier proving and training ground for aspiring writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Instructors are among the most respected writers and editors working in the field today. Over one third of our graduates have been published and many have gone on to critical acclaim. The list of distinguished Clarion alumni includes Ed Bryant, Octavia Butler, Bob Crais, Cory Doctorow, George Alec Effinger, Nalo Hopkinson, James Patrick Kelly, Vonda McIntyre, Kim Stanley Robinson, Martha Soukup, Kelly Link, Bruce Sterling, and many others.

Why should you do it?

I did it. I liked it. You will like it.

Who is teaching this year?

Andy Duncan
Nalo Hopkinson
Cory Doctorow
Robert Crais
Karen Joy Fowler
Kelly Link

Holy shit. Need I say more?

When is the application deadline?

This Friday, March 1st. Your application, application fee, and submission stories must be received by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

The 2012 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation

February 23rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

$5,000 grant for a literary translation. The deadline is April 12, 2013. The language changes every year. This year it’s French. You should apply. If I were under 30, I would. Deets:

This $5,000 grant will be awarded to a proposed work of literary translation from French into English and is open to anyone under the age of 30. The translation must fall under the category of fiction or letters, and the applicant will propose his or her own translation project. The project should be manageable for a four-month period of work, as the grant will be awarded in late June 2013, and the translation must be completed by November 2013.

Acceptable proposals include a novella, a play, a collection of short stories or poems, or a collection of letters that have literary import. Preference will be given to works that have not been previously translated. (Previously translated works will be considered, however applicants should include an explanation for why they are proposing a new translation.) Applicants wishing to translate significantly longer works should contact the Foundation before sending in their applications so that supplementary materials can be included. The prizewinner will be notified in late June, 2013 and results will be announced online at

The recipient will be expected to participate in symposia on literary translation with established writers and translators, as well as public readings of their work once the translation has been completed.

Please download the official application online at Applicants must be under the age of 30 on the date the prizewinner is announced at the end of June, 2013. By submitting work to the Susan Sontag Foundation, the applicant acknowledges the right of the Foundation to use the accepted work in its publications, on its website, and for educational and promotional purposes related to the Foundation. Please note that application materials cannot be returned to applicants.

For more information, please contact Megan Campisi at

UMass Translation Center 19 Herter Hall Amherst, MA 01002 (413) 545-2203;

Summer Translation Workshop in Paris: Apply!

February 21st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

My friend and fellow translator Alyson Waters will be conducting what sounds like an amazing translation workshop in Paris this summer. Ah, to be young, with the City of Lights yet to be discovered! I wish this kind of thing had been around when I was teaching myself to translate, from books checked out of the New York Public Library, in the bedroom of an Inwood apartment whose only window was screened from the fire escape by a thick, locked grate.

The Art of Literary Translation – Paris Workshop, is an intensive, four-week-long course with a primary focus on the translation of modern and contemporary works from French into English. The program will consist of three-hour writing workshops (meeting three times a week), a lecture and guest speaker series with translators and professionals in the field, and additional cultural activities.

So you’ll have lots of time to lounge around in dissolute expatriate cafes.

The program will take place at Reid Hall, Columbia’s Paris campus in the beautiful Montparnasse neighborhood, over four weeks, from June 24 – July 19, 2013. Students will work first on short passages selected by the instructor and then on projects of their own choosing. The intensive workshop structure will give them the chance to engage deeply with their own writing and with each other’s and, at the same time, will offer the unique chance to penetrate the minds of other writers  in a way that only translation can provide  While French grammatical structures and vocabulary will be emphasized, stylistics, esthetics, and mastery of one’s own written English will be key, as the ultimate goal of the course is to bring each student’s translation to the next level of artistic refinement.

Alyson Waters has been teaching translation workshops and French literature seminars at Yale University for more than fifteen years, in addition to teaching translation workshops at NYU and Columbia.  She has received a PEN Translation Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, as well as residency grants from the Centre National du Livre, the Villa Gillet, and the Banff International Literary Translation Centre.  She sits on the advisory board of Yale University Press’s Margellos World Republic of Letters series, and the advisory committee of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre.  Her most recent translations include Albert Cossery’s A Splendid Conspiracy (New Directions, 2010) and his The Colors of Infamy (New Directions, 2011), and Eric Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times (Archipelago Books).  Waters has a PhD in Comparative Literature from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York.  She divides her time among Brooklyn, Paris, and, whenever possible, coastal Brittany.

The deadline for applications is March 1, 2013. You should apply! All Paris awaits!

Blutch: So Long, Silver Screen

February 19th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Cover design by David Mazzuchelli

Cover design by David Mazzuchelli

Blutch is hands down one of the most talented and respected French cartoonists today, a hero to the up-and-coming generation, even including Americans like Jessica Abel and Craig Thompson. It’s a travesty he doesn’t even have an English Wikipedia entry. It’s a tragedy, too, that he’s barely been published in English up till now, but happily, that’s a wrong we’re about to right. We can’t make up for all the lost years, but Dan Nadel’s Brooklyn-based PictureBox is putting out his first full-length work to appear in English. May it pave the way for a long overdue Blutch invasion and (at this point) career retrospective: for starters, English editions of Peplum, Mitchum, Blotch, Vitesse moderne, and Le petit Christian…

This release is something discerning fans stateside have been waiting for a very long time. Blutch ‘s built a solid fan base, mostly by word of mouth, among cartoonists, illustrators, animators, and Francophiles. In So Long, Silver Screen, Blutch pushes the counterpoint of text and image to the limit, delivering a Godardian cine-essay in graphic novel form. It’s a mash note, a hate letter, an editorial, a screed, the diary of an affair, the best kind of critique–intimately, messily, inextricably bound up with personal history. Along the way, Blutch gets off a number of bons mots, his wit as epigrammatic as his style is compressed in its dense conveyance of information. (My favorite: “Cinema is a butterfly net for catching little girls.”) There are especially astute entries on acting (starring Burt Lancaster), the male gaze and the mistreatment of women, and the price of fame. Inevitably, meditations on film are meditations on time. Blutch stands at the edge of film’s grave, that 20th century titan, tossing in flowers of tribute.

Of note: So Long, Silver Screen, is one of the few books I’ve worked on whose title was reworked, in collaboration with the publisher. The original, Pour en finir avec le cinéma, translates to “To have done with movies,” but includes a colloquialism: “faire son cinéma” means making a fuss over something—a production, shall we say—such that the common “Arrête ton cinema” translates to “Stop making such a big deal about it.” So the title’s implication is also Goodbye to All That (Bizness, or Nonsense). We batted a number of ideas around, starting closer to the original with puns like Wrapping Up: Thoughts on Film, and That’s a Wrap: Notes on Movies; moving on to cultural references like Say Goodbye to Hollywood, Au Revoir le Cinéma, and The Last Picture Show and Tell, before settling on the current choice.

For those who can’t wait till the April release, Comic Book Resources has a 10-page preview up. A few years ago Words Without Borders, ever ahead of the curve, ran an excerpt from Blutch’s book That Was Happiness, along with a short making-of video interviewing the artist,  and David Varno blogged an appreciation of Blutch’s style.


Kickstart My Heart: Two Projects to Fund Now

February 17th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

  • Quick! There’s only five days left to save artist Andrew G. Fisher’s photobook Perspective and kickstart it into existence! You could be holding a deluxe 64-page square softcover book containing 85 meditative images on the ephemerality of life. The book adapts Fisher’s first photofilm, showcasing his flair for compositional drama and control of black and white. Among the interesting work at his site is Forgotten Corners, a series considering urban decay.
  • With 8 days to go, Anomalous Press is less than $40 shy of the funds it needs to publish six fantastic books that their editorial team has donated time and talent to cull, proofread, edit and design. Since its founding in March 2011, Anomalous has been an on-line literary journal for poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and translation, but it’s taking the leap into the world of book publishing. All funds are strictly budgeted to pay printing; shipping; buying ISBN numbers for print, ebook, and audio versions; and paying Kickstarter and Amazon their dues. Click on over to the Kickstarter to read in detail about the six outstanding titles by Janis Freegard, Mike Schorsch, Liat Berdugo, Askold Melnyczuk, Sarah Tourjee, and  Éric Suchère translated by Sandra Doller that YOU could help make a reality.

UPDATE from Sarah Kosch, Anomalous Publicity Editor:

Because of the unforeseen rapidness of closing in on $5000, we’re going to add some new Stretch Goals in which everyone will win!

  • If we raise an extra $100 (to reach $5100), we’ll make a postcard from The Everyday Maths that everyone will get.
  • If we reach $5300, we’ll make a set of three postcards from the books that everyone will get.
  • $5500 and we’ll make Anomalous buttons using images and text from the books that everyone will get.
  • $6000 and we’ll make the postcards, buttons, and be able to give token payments to our contributing authors, cover artists, and composer. Not what they’re worth, but a gesture of thanks for their fantastic cont ributions that the world can now enjoy.

Thank you for all you’ve done so far! We still have eight days to go, and I’m just tickled to see how this thrilling run ends.


The Brooklyn Rail Fiction Anthology 2: Review Copies Now Available

February 15th, 2013 § 4 comments § permalink

The Brooklyn Rail Fiction Anthology 2

Around the turn of the year (2008-09), The Brooklyn Rail ran Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s story “The Only Mortal.” At the time, it was the author’s fifth published story in English, before the 2010 collection A Life on Paper. Now, as the Rail prepares to release its second anthology of fiction selected from its pages, Châteaureynaud’s story features in a table of contents where he’d be proud to be found: Ionesco, Ryunosuke, Pessoa, Cortazar, de Sade, Walser, Luc Lang, Emmanuel Bove… And I find myself among translators I’m honored to have shared column inches with: Alyson Waters, Geoffrey Brock, Susan Bernofsky, playwright Caridad Svich, Donald Nicholson-Smith, the late Richard Seaver… Not to mention original fiction by Bukowski, Douglas Glover, Laird Hunt, Shelley Jackson, and comics by Tom Motley. Assembled by Donald Breckenridge (with editorial assistance from Jen Zoble, Stefanie Sobelle, and Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones), this is nigh on 400 pages of awesomeness, and I salute them for producing not only a quality but a truly international volume. And all proceeds go toward sustaining the Rail as a progressive community, literary, and journalistic force.

Why wait till the May release? Digital review copies are yours for the asking right now. Just leave a comment!

H.V. Chao in The Nashwaak Review

February 13th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Nashwaak Review #28-29

H.V. Chao’s story “Visa” is out in the latest issue of The Nashwaak Review (28-29), with nifty cover art of a sculpture from the Whirligigs exhibit at Beaverbook Art Gallery. An earlier version originally tied for first place in USC’s own Edward G. Moses Undergraduate Fiction Prize, 1998. A later version won second place in the Society for the Study of the Short Story contest. It is, at long last, seeing the light of day in print. This is the second of Chao’s stories to appear this year.

Design Week Likes We Won’t See Auschwitz

February 10th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

We Won't See Auschwitz

At Design Week, Emily Gosling has a few appreciative words for Paris-based Jérémie Dres’ graphic novel debut We Won’t See Auschwitz (out now from SelfMadeHero):

The Holocaust isn’t the easiest subject to explore through a medium as image-led as the graphic novel. However, new Self Made Hero-published book We Won’t See Auschwitz proves that with a little sensitivity, a sweet and unpatronising plotline and some sensitively evocative illustration, it’s possible to produce a volume that explores such weighty issues rather well.

While the illustrations may not be overly complex or technical, the sketchy black and white tales manages to cover some weighty histories, proving that in some cases, pictures really are capable of speaking a thousand words.

Coachella, Weird Fiction, Tin House, Absinth€ Minded

February 8th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

from Matt Benyo’s blog

  • H.V. Chao’s short story “A Portrait in the Attic” is up at The Coachella Review, kicking off a year of six of his short fiction publications slated so far—seven, if you count G.-O. Châteaureynaud’s translation “La main de mon père” in Brèves (the English original, “My Father’s Hand,” is forthcoming). “Portrait” is the first to appear in English.
  • I’m back in my bimonthly Monday groove at Weird Fiction Review, blogging on all things French and fantastic, starting with this post on Jean Ferry, author of “The Society Tiger,” my translation of which featured in the early days of WFR. I have a bad habit of announcing two-parters and not following through—I currently owe second parts to my Béalu and Brion posts—but caveat lector to those awaiting: it might be a bit. Sorry! Never fear, though—they will be finished!
  • The Tin House blog has run my piece on Charles McCarry’s novel The Secret Lovers. I’ve been working my way through the McCarry Å“uvre since last summer for sheer pleasure, and even though some novels are inevitably better than others, never once has his work failed to offer something compelling, memorable, and deftly presented.
  • After a three-year hiatus, I’ve also taken up blogging as part of the team again at Absinth€ Minded, the blog of Absinthe, Dwayne Hayes valiant journal of new writing from Europe, one of the few translation-only litmags on the scene. My first post concerns a fan petition for the translation of comics giant Moebius’ work into English, and goes on to some thoughts about English as a world language and the power of fans to change publishing in this time of transition.


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