Translator Elisabeth Jaquette speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about four stories she translated from Arabic for Issue 19 of The Common magazine. These stories appear in a special portfolio of fiction from established and emerging Sudanese writers. In this conversation, Jaquette talks about the delights and difficulties of translating from Arabic, as well as her thoughts on form, style, and satire in literature from the Arab world. She also discusses translating Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, which is currently a finalist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature.
Podcast: Elisabeth Jaquette on Translating Sudanese Fiction
My wife pointed out the willow tree on move-in day. The branches draped over a hill as round as my wife’s belly at seven months. We’d traded a West Coast high-rise for an East Coast village where the only thing to wake our baby would be other babies. We came to the city in our youth. And we left for our youth.
Buds that flower on the vanilla vines in the morning must be pollinated before dusk by human hands, or they will wilt and die and drop to the rain-mudded ground of this slash in a hillside overlooking the sea. Tobisoa, his small fingers perfect for the task, uses a toothpick to lift the rostellum, then presses the exposed anther against the stigma.