Posted by Kira Baran, GD Creative Non-Fiction Reader for 7.1
This year, SUNY Geneseo hosted a meet-the-author lecture featuring Icelandic-born novelist Ófeigur Sigurðsson. Also in attendance was SUNY Geneseo’s own Dr. Lytton Smith, who worked as a translator for Sigurðsson’s most recent publication, Oraefi: The Wasteland. Over the course of the evening, the two discussed the writing process, the translation process, and the life experiences that influenced the book.
Yet, what stands out in my memory is not Sigurðsson’s humorous comment about casting sheep (yes, the animal) as fictional characters; nor is it his serious comment about climate change’s threat to transform Iceland into a volcanic “inferno.” No—even the latter statement was arguably less jarring than one simple statistic the author shared regarding America’s own threatening environment: that only three percent of the books marketed in the United States are translated texts. Continue reading