Sunday, October 23, 2011

A French Update and a Tribute to Translators

Here is the revised cover for Trois autres Malaisie, the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited.   Also, for those who read French, here is the latest update of the book’s French blog 

I’m told that Trois autres Malaisie is still under proofreading and it should go under print by the end of October-early November.  The next post on the book blog will be a short bio of the translator Jerome Bouchard, who I met in Kuching back in June.  According to the publisher, Editions GOPE, too often translators work in the shadow of the writer and don’t get the exposure they deserve.  I have to agree.  Often it’s the translator who finds the writer and introduces him to the foreigner publisher in the first place. 

This is what happened in my case, and this is exactly what happened in the case of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, according to Coelho’s biography, A Warrior’s Life by Fernando Morais.  It was the translator Alan Clarke, an American who came across Coelho’s first book The Pilgrimage in Portuguese and offered to translate it into English.  Coelho was not impresses and told him, “Thank you for your interest, but what I need is a publisher in the United States, not a translator.”
Clarke was not put off and replied, “All right, then, can I try and find a publisher for the book?”  Twenty-two publishers turned Clarke down before someone at HarperCollins said yes.  The book, under a different title, didn’t sell.  Undaunted, Clarke translated The Alchemist and offered it to HarperCollins and the rest is history. 

Sometimes it's a matter of perseverance, even in translation. 


*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, my collection of short stories set in Malaysia

**Update: Book orders for Trois autres Malaisie  E-book orders.  Or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.
Here's a link to the intro and excerpts, and to four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in,,, and Petit Futé mag.

***Here’s an update to the French blog about Trois autres Malaisie and my meeting the French translator Jerome Bouchaud in Kuching, and my involvement in a French documentary for Arte (June 2017) on The Sensual Malaysia of Somerset Maugham.

Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I 

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