Posted: Friday October 16, 2015
The English translation of Madeleine Gagnon’s memoir, As Always: Memoir of a Life in Writing, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Cole Foundation Prize for Translation, an Award given annually by the Quebec Writers’ Federation.
Congratulations to the translators of this wonderful book, Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott! We consider As Always to be an essential contribution to Quebec culture – a lively and readable book, as well as an important record of the history of feminism in Quebec. Translators Sheila Fischman and Debbie Blythe are nominated in the same category, for their respective translations of Mãn by Kim Thuy and Turkey and the Armenian Ghost: On the Trail of the Genocide by Laure Marchand and Guillaume Perrier. Read the shortlist online. Winners will be announced at the 2015 QWF Awards Gala on November 18.
In related news, As Always launched in Montreal last week, and the reports have come in: it was a very nice launch! All guests, including the author, expressed their satisfaction, and the audience of 23 enjoyed the evening at the Atwater Reading Room in Westmount. Delightful refreshments followed a short presentation and readings from the book by its author and translators, Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott, and a lively questions/discussion period.
Madeleine Gagnon reads from her new book (Photo: Howard Scott)
The audience listens intently (Photo: Charles Robert Simard)
The audience included noted professor Maïr Verthuy (far right). (Photo: Howard Scott)
Phyllis Aronoff reads to the audience (Photo: Charles Robert Simard)
Phyllis Aronoff (Photo: Charles Robert Simard)
Howard Scott reads to the audience (Photo: Charles Robert Simard)
The audience smiles (Photo: Charles Robert Simard)
_Delectable canapés by Chantal! (Photo: Charles Robert Simard)
Madeleine Gagnon and Maïr Verthuy (Photo: Charles Robert Simard)
Phyllis Aronoff, Howard Scott, and Madeleine Gagnon (Photo: Charles Robert Simard)
Aronoff also provided some background to the publication of As Always:
The evening in a way represented the culmination of an adventure that started quite a few years ago, when Howard Scott was a graduate student and Maïr Verthuy his professor. Maïr had invited Madeleine to talk to the class about her work. Howard was taken with Madeleine’s writing and intrigued by the challenge of rendering it into English. Maïr encouraged him to try his hand at doing a translation of one of Madeleine’s books, a short book of prose poetry. A few years later, in 1989, Lair was published, followed in 1994 by Song for a Far Quebec.
Howard and I had begun working together when the possibility arose of translating more of Madeleine’s work, this time for Talonbooks, and so we ended up working together on Women in a World at War (2003). We followed that up with My Name is Bosnia (2006), Against the Wind (2012), and then, this year, As Always (2015). Howard and I have been Madeleine Gagnon’s English voice for nearly thirty years now!
So, quite serendipitously, things came full-circle, with Madeleine, Maïr, Howard, and me together at the launch of this wonderful book, As Always.