In an interview with Julian Lucas for The White Review, Scholastique Mukasonga discusses – among other things – her movement from autobiography to fiction, and the historical and cultural contexts of colonialism, gender roles, and the Catholic Church in her writing about the Rwandan genocide. She also dwells on what it means to write Rwandan history in French, and the linguistic futures of emerging writers in her country. You can read the interview here, and an excerpt below:
“But I believe that I will never stop writing about Rwanda: there is so much more to write about this lost, murdered, recovering, reborn country. There are few Rwandan writers, and among them, even fewer women. I know my books are needed. It’s as though I receive orders from young Rwandans who thirst to rediscover a culture so long obscured and despised. Writing to meet their expectations has become a duty, but also a pleasure. All I have to do is dig into the trunk of my mother’s tales.”
This week, Bomb Magazine published an interview of José Eduardo Agualusa by Bibi Deitz. They talk about Agualusa’s novel, The Society of Reluctant Dreamers, and how dreams, social movements, and photography all affect his writing. As Deitz notes in her introduction to the interview: “To read José Eduardo Agualusa is less like being transported to another world and more like getting thrown into the very real world in which we live: The colors are brighter, the sun beats a bit hotter, and people let their dreams affect them more acutely.”
You can read the interview on Bomb’s website, here.
José Eduardo Agualusa was born in Huambo, Angola in 1960. He studied agronomy and forestry in Lisbon before he began his work as a writer. His novel Creole was awarded the Portuguese Grand Prize for Literature, and he received the U.K.’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Book of Chameleons in 2007. He and his translator, Daniel Hahn, won the 2017 Dublin Literary Award for A General Theory of Oblivion and in 2019, he won Angola’s most prestigious literary prize, the National Prize for Culture and Arts.
Bibi Deitz lives and writes in Brooklyn, and recently finished her first novel; more at bibideitz.com.
Set in a small, prestigious Catholic boarding school for the wealthy and well-connected, Our Lady of the Nile weaves together stories of girlhood with the particular history of Rwanda. Mukasonga transforms the lycée into a microcosm of the country’s mounting racial tensions and violence leading up to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Donald Nicholson-Smith, translator of Serge Pey’s Treasure of the Spanish Civil War, read from his translation and conversed with Caleb Crain about genre, immigration, magical realism, anarchism, and more at a recent Zoom talk hosted by Community Bookstore. Watch a recording of the conversation below.
Donald Nicholson-Smith has translated works by Antonin Artaud, Jean Laplanche, and J. B. Pontalis, among other writers. His translation of In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2017.
Daniel Hahn, who translated José Eduardo Agualusa’s The Society of Reluctant Dreamers from the original Portuguese, was interviewed via videoconference by Justin Souther, Malaprop’s Senior Buyer and Bookstore Manager in late April. Hahn has written numerous books of nonfiction and has translated the works of Juan Pablo Villalobos, Fernando Vilela, Julián Fuks, and Carola Saavedra, among others. You can watch Daniel and Justin’s conversation below.
“An elusive puppeteer, a wizard behind a curtain, someone heard but not seen.” Katherine Silver thus describes her work as a translator in a recent interview with The Believer. Silver translated Juan Carlos Onetti’s A Dream Come True which Archipelago published this fall.
“Language-based artistic activity is not self-expression, even if it does start with that as a spark, an initial impulse, but…it then must dive deeply into the only true commons we have, language, and from there craft something beyond the self.” Read more at the link below!