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Posted by Kira Baran, GD Fiction Editor for 9.1
Has the COVID-19 pandemic got you feeling isolated? Yeah, us too. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. We might just have a remedy for that!
In my last Gandy Dancer blog post, I talked about the fact that less than three percent of literature accessible in America is international and/or translated literature. Non-Western literature isn’t traveling outside the borders in which it was first written, and readers in the Western world have limited access to literature that was written outside their own borders. When living in a literary vacuum, it’s easy for both parties to feel isolated. If this situation sounds familiar, that’s because it is. “Isolation” has recently become a trending word.
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