Sphinx Garreta cover

Emma Ramadan, who graduated from AUP’s MA in Cultural Translation program last year, has published her translation of Anne Garréta’s Sphinx. You can read an extract, or order the book from its publisher or from the usual suspects. The translation is a formidable exploit, as it manages to bring the constraint of the novel – a love story between two characters, the gender of neither of whom is revealed in the book – into English (a language in which gender operates according to an entirely different logic) while maintaining the tone and life of the language.

The first reviews are coming in. One notes that:

Ramadan not only accomplishes the challenge of translating the restraint but she does so without sacrificing the beauty or sense of Sphinx and allows the complexity of Garréta’s work to live in English, to lend its cities, Paris and New York, as much depth and sensual understanding as it does its characters.

The review goes on to praise Garréta’s prose fulsomely – of course forgetting the translator, which is the frustrating form the highest praise must take.

Ramadan’s translation follows a series of great translations by AUP students from the MACT program. To mention just a very few: Jan Steyn’s translations of modern French literature are published by Dalkey Archive Press (Works and Suicide, by Edouard Levé; Alix’s Journal, by Alix Cleo Roubaud; Orphans, by Hadrien Laroche); he also translated Levé’s Newspaper with fellow MACT alum Caitlin Dolan-Leach. Sousan Hammad’s writing and translation work is outlined here, and includes her translations of Najwan Darwish in a volume of Contemporary Lterature in Translation which she edited. Jesse Lichtenstein translated Guadalupe Nettel’s Natural Histories, and The Body Where I Was Born, which won the Herralde prize. She writes about her translations here.

And coming soon, look for the work of Mui Poopoksakul. I have forgotten others, I am sure.