You know you're busy when you don't even have time to write about good news... After weeks spent reading through the proofs of Radisson, which is now on its way to press, ready to be released later in the autumn, I at last have a minute or two to tell you about a prize I won last month.
Yes, from now on I'll be signing my emails Peter McCambridge, Winner, 2012 John Dryden Translation Prize. The award is organized by the British Comparative Literature Association and this year my translation of the first chapter of Eric Dupont's fabulous Bestiaire took home first prize. I really couldn't be happier. First, because it's a major award, given to what the BCLA judges to be the finest unpublished translation into English to cross its desk that year. But second, because Bestiaire is the novel that inspired me to become a literary translator in the first place. To this day it remains one of my favourite novels of all time and fingers crossed this leads to renewed interest from the publishing world in my translation.
All being well, my translation should be appearing in Comparative Critical Studies, the journal of the British Comparative Literature Association, later this year. In the meantime, here's a short sample to give you an idea of why I love this book so much:
July 1976. Montreal. The 21st Olympic Games. A tiny Romanian
gymnast stands on a mat and waves to the crowd. For thirty seconds, she swings
back and forth between two wooden bars, defying the laws of gravity. Her
landing is perfect. She even manages a smile, and gambols away from the blue
mat as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. With the whole world
looking on, she gets a perfect score. Ten. Nadia Comaneci, the child who had
been getting by on an egg a day, had just revealed to Quebec’s metropolis the
possibilities of weightlessness. Of this impressive demonstration of grace,
courage, and agility, history would remember her smile most of all—the one
thing she hadn’t worked on and that came to her naturally. If you walk by the
Olympic Stadium in Montreal today, you will see a monument in honour of the
medal winners at the Montreal Olympics. You can’t miss it. It’s right by the
entrance to the Biodome. Look for Nadia’s name among all the others. Look up
and you’ll see the Romanian flag. I remember it like it were yesterday.
Thanks to the good people at Marchand de feuilles for their best wishes, support, and permission to publish this extract.