Interview with Chris Andrews

Chris Andrews is one of those Australian writers that you will probably never get to hear of, and yet he has had a profound impact on the international world of letters over the past few years.  Andrews is the Australian translator of writers Roberto Bolaño and César Aira. He has worked on five books by Bolaño: By Night in Chile (2003), Distant Star (2004), Last Evening on Earth (2007), Amulet (2008), and Nazi Literature in the Americas (2009).  From César Aira, he has brought us three: An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (2006), How I Became a Nun (2007), and Ghosts (2009)..  He was interviewed on "The Mooksee and the Gripes" weblog.

Q:  Mr. Andrews, I'd like to begin by asking about your pathway to your current work translating Roberto Bolaño and César Aira.  How long have you been translating, and why from Spanish?

I studied literature, French and Spanish, at university and started translating in the mid-1990s with travel narratives (including Ana Briongos' memoir Black on Black about living and travelling in Iran) and some short stories (including Cortázar's uncollected, early story "The Season of the Hand").  I wanted to translate longer works of fiction, but it's hard to get a contract; there's simply not much work for translators of fiction into English.  With Bolaño, I had a lucky break: I was approaching publishers in England, expressing interest in translating work, and it happened that I visited Christopher Maclehose at The Harvill Press in London shortly after he had acquired the rights to By Night in Chile.  That was in 2001.  He asked me what I had been reading and I spoke enthusiastically about Bolaño (I had just read The Wild Detectives).  Harvill already had a translator lined up for By Night in Chile, but when that fell through, they needed a replacement, so they asked me for a sample, then commissioned me to translate the book.  Barbara Epler at New Directions published By Night in Chile in the United States, and I've been working directly with her since Last Evenings on Earth (which was originally commissioned by Harvill but published first by New Directions in the United States).

Thanks to kimbofo and her "Reading Matters" weblog for this link.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 22, 2009 9:24 AM.

Reprint: The Maligned Publisher was the previous entry in this blog.

Instances of Matilda #5 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en