From French into English: What Is Never Said
Award-winning French translators Donald Nicholson-Smith and Alyson Waters are well-known practitioners of the art and craft of translation in today’s English-language literary world. We are honored to have them both join us for this special conversation, in which they will discuss their literary lives and behind-the-scene experiences as translators for more than thirty years. They will also present some of their French/Francophone authors, and read excerpts of their translations alongside the original versions.
Born in Manchester, England, and a longtime resident of New York City, Donald Nicholson-Smith is a translator and freelance editor. His many translations, ranging from psychoanalysis and social criticism to crime fiction, include works by Thierry Jonquet, Guy Debord, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Henri Lefebvre, Raoul Vaneigem, Antonin Artaud, Jean Laplanche, and J.B. Pontalis. His translation of Apollinaire’s Letters to Madeleine was shortlisted for the 2012 French-American Foundation Prize for Nonfiction and in 2014 he won the Foundation’s Fiction Prize for his translation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s The Mad and the Bad. His translation of In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2017.
Alyson Waters has translated Vassilis Alexakis, Louis Aragon, René Belletto, Emmanuel Bove, Albert Cossery, Hubert Haddad, and Daniel Pennac, among others. Her translation of Eric Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times won the 2013 French-American Foundation/Florence Gould Translation Prize. Her most recent translation is Jean Giono’s A King Alone (New York Review Books, 2019). She is currently working on Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novels, Morgue pleine and Que d’os ! A Chevalier des arts et des lettres and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a PEN Translation Fund Grant, etc., Waters teaches at Yale and serves as the managing editor of Yale French Studies.
This event will be introduced by Fiona Sze-Lorrain, a 2019-2020 Abigail R. Cohen Fellow of the Institute for Ideas and Imagination. In English and French. En anglais et en français.