I am a huge fan of Emily Wilson–and was beyond honored to see my name next to hers in the Guggenheim Fellowship translation category. How she thinks about, and advocates for, translation has done so much for the art and practice. She has also, with her translation of The Odyssey, led us to rethinking how we read the classics, and has introduced The Odyssey to whole new audiences. “Tell me about a complicated man” as a first line is sheer genius in its simplicity and allure.
On Twitter (@EmilyRCWilson), on May 13, she made the following announcement:
“Reading big real books, not the news, can be restorative in difficult times. Especially reading out loud. I am planning to make 24 little 2-minute videos of me reading a tiny passage of the Odyssey in my translation every day for 24 days. Join the journey! Starting Friday.”
And this wonderful list of books from British publishers turned up today from The Center For Fiction (where Martha will be launching her new novel An Elegant Woman on June 2).
When I moved to London in 2003, my great friend Carol Devine Carson, artist and book designer extraordinaire, who was the Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf until very recently, told me that all I needed to do to feel at home and happy was to go to Persephone Books on Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury. Persephone books specializes in reprinting “neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers.” Of which, of course, there is no shortage. The founder and publisher, Nicola Beauman, is a genius of taste and style, every book curated inside and out. I love that book store and was there so very often during my twelve years in London. And I cherish my collection of the sleek silver-grey tomes
Nicola eventually became a friend. I first met her through a literary salon for women writers I used to run with journalist Sarah Glazer called The Upper Wimpole Street Literary Salon. The Salon has a fabulous, and tragic, history which you can read about here. At this little table, writer and musician Alba Arikha and I led fiction writing workshops, Persephone, the goddess of death and rebirth, inspiring us all.