Jennifer Croft Recommends...

“I love to write and always have and don’t get stuck that often, but maybe that’s because I’ve also loved to toggle between languages since I started studying Russian as a teenager. The best way for me to get inspiration as a writer is to read, and by far the best and closest way to read is to translate. I have always thought of my translations as a kind of apprenticeship under expert writers whose work I deeply admire. One of the first writers I ever translated, Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, was just awarded a Nobel Prize. Translating Flights (Riverhead Books, 2018), her ‘constellation novel,’ taught me a lot about lyricism, character, and pace. Translating Argentine author Romina Paula’s novel August (Feminist Press, 2017) taught me how to make myself vulnerable in my writing, how to be raw. Translating Ukrainian writer Natalka Sniadanko taught me about writing with wit, even when dealing with tough subjects. Even if you don’t speak any other language, you can still translate. You can even translate from English into English! It’s just a matter of sinking into the sentences, word by word, really immersing yourself inside someone else’s prose until you understand why each word is exactly where it is, how it relates to all the other words around it, what associations it brings with it, how it contributes to a tone. In literature, there is no greater intimacy than that between writer and translator. I highly recommend it.”
—Jennifer Croft, author of Homesick (Unnamed Press, 2019)

Photo credit: Boris Dralyuk

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