OUT NOW: Gauguin and the Other World

March 14th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


In its tenth anniversary year, SelfMadeHero is delighted to announce the publication of GAUGUIN: The Other World a new graphic novel by Italian illustrator Fabrizio Dori.

Renowned for his paintings of Tahiti and Polynesia, Paul Gauguin abandoned his married life in Denmark to find liberation and inspiration in paradise. Fabrizio Dori vividly celebrates the life and work of the Post-Impressionist artist who is closely associated with Van Gogh, and whose reputation grew after his death. A series of essays contextualize his work.

This sensitive biography runs through Gauguin’s days as he reviews them from the perspective of his final moments, bringing to graphic life some enduring questions about being an artist vs. being a human being, and what romantic legacies we inherit from the towering figures of earlier eras. While translating this, I went back and read Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence, with its fictionalized, Anglicized version of Gauguin, one of the first artists to scandalize society by turning his back on it to pursue his art.

OUT NOW: Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie

February 14th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

resize (1) Haddon cover

In its tenth anniversary year, SelfMadeHero is delighted to announce the publication of HADDON HALL: When David Invented Bowie, a new graphic novel by Tunisian-born Néjib.

After releasing his first hit single, David Bowie moved into Haddon Hall, a sprawling Victorian house in London’s suburbs, with his girlfriend Angie. Part commune, part creative hub, it was in this bohemian atmosphere that he wrote many of the songs for Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory. Tunisian-born Néjib explores Bowie’s formative years in this evocatively original portrait of a young artist poised to create a musical revolution. A timely reminder of Bowie’s creative genius and influence, coinciding with the first anniversary of his death.

This slim and tender tribute, narrated by the titular house, both fits in well with and stands apart from the other artist bios I’ve translated for SelfMadeHero. Néjib, a graphic designer and comics artist, is the art director at Editions Casterman. His favourite David Bowie song is “Sound and Vision”, and in an interview, he cites as influences on the art and color scheme of this book Heinz Edelmann’s (Yellow Submarine) and Milton Glaser.


SELF MADE HERO turns 10!!

February 7th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


A big hearty hand to SelfMadeHero for turning 10 today! That’s a decade of excellent, inspiring indie comics like nobody else does’em: either in Britain or the rest of the English-speaking world (lookin’ at you, America!). My heartfelt thanks for letting me be part of their team for so long. Here’s to forever!

Paul Willems at Speculative Fiction in Translation

February 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


At her site Speculative Fiction in Translation, which with masterful comprehensiveness and unflagging enthusiasm charts and encourages all speculative fiction translated into English, Rachel Cordasco has a few kind words for Paul Willems’ The Cathedral of Mist:

In this collection of surreal, exquisitely-composed and expertly-translated stories, Belgian fantasist Paul Willems (1912-1997) offers us a multitude of dreamscapes both as delicate as gossamer and tangible as a mountain. Cathedrals made of mist, palaces of emptiness, dreams that melt into reality: you’ll find all of these within the six stories included in the slim volume (two essays about reading and writing are included at the end). Form and content work in harmony in a way that I’ve rarely encountered…

Thank you!

International Graphic Novels: Volume XI

February 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


The 11th edition of Words Without Borders’ annual comics issue is now up, featuring my translation of “Men and Beasts” by Daniel Sixte and Sinzo Aanza.

All kudos to scholar Dominic Davies for turning me onto this work. Don’t miss his knockout essay “Comics and Graphic Narratives: A Cultural Commons”  contextualizing the comics in the issue!

Peplum in the AV Club Best Comics of 2016

December 14th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Peplum Lucas

Blutch’s Peplum is in good company among Shea Hennum’s picks at the AV Club’s year-end Best Comics of 2016 list. Thank you Shea, Blutch, and New York Review Comics!

The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome makes World Literature Today’s 2016 Year-End List

December 13th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


World Literature Today‘s annual list of 75 notable translations came out today, and on it was Serge Brussolo’s Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome, no doubt thanks to a stellar review in their pages earlier this year by J. David Osborne.

Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome at Strange Horizons

December 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


For Strange HorizonsDavid Hebblethwaite reviews Serge Brussolo’s novel The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome:

What ultimately makes Brussolo’s novel work for me is how it knots its different strands into strange and distinctive shapes. There are grand imaginative spectacles…  There is plenty of detail of a society transformed by the mediums’ work… there are the small digressions… This is a novel that can’t be reduced to a metaphor, or a character study, or a work of pure imagination. It is all of these things at once, incompletely and held in tension.

In sum, The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome is a 360-degree cross section through a fictional world created and dispensed with in barely two hundred pages. It is as tantalizing, frustrating, and exhilarating as that sounds.

Paul Willems in Tin House’s Open Bar and Eleven Eleven

December 7th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

by Marc Lowenthal

by Marc Lowenthal

As this savage year draws to an apocalyptic close, take a minute for the quiet wisdom of Belgian fabulist Paul Willems, author of the serenely harrowing stories in The Cathedral of Mist, out from Wakefield Press last July. Tin House and Eleven Eleven  are featuring excerpts from his memories about surviving World War II in Belgium and its aftermath, composed with his usual artfulness and heartbreak.

(Photo N. Hellyn - A.M.L.). Droits SOFAM.

(Photo N. Hellyn – A.M.L.). Droits SOFAM.

Paul Willems at Three Percent

November 7th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


In the run-up to the Best Translated Book Awards, Monica Carter pens a lovely appreciation of Paul Willems’ The Cathedral of Mist:

By far, The Cathedral of Mist is going to be one of those works that I will read from time after time, always being inspired by something new within its pages… I couldn’t help but think, after reading The Cathedral of Mist, that Willems had applied Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space and On Poetic Reverie and Imagination to perfection. His Elysian stories transport you to realities so vivid, even knowing they don’t exist, feel otherwise.

Willems voice is humorous, light, hopefully resigned to his imagination, and this combination infuses his pieces with a touching nostalgia. I can’t help but be in awe of Edward Gauvin’s translation (he has many fine translations…) that captures Willems’s essence[…]

Simply breathtaking.

Thank you!