Skip to Content

‘No one reads your book as closely as a translator does'

28 December 2020

‘No one reads your book as closely as a translator does, which is something you learn very quickly. I'm in such awe of them. They also read beneath it and around it. They make me consider things I thought I knew the meaning of because I use those words in everyday dialect and that's how the characters express themselves. It's made me go back and research the origins of some of the words...

Sometimes, it's explaining not even language but what a door looks like or what kind of fire was in the mantle because the book is also so specific about a class and a place and a time that it might not translate well. It's fascinating how their minds work...

I've had an extraordinary year which has been probably not the experience of most debut novelists. It's also been extraordinary because it's been my only experience and has all happened through a screen. I've had one event where I met with actual readers and managed to connect with people in the flesh and press the flesh and talk about the book.

That globalism has allowed books to reach people who have felt excluded from festivals or literary events or readings. I think it's going to be a thing we should uphold and maintain as we go forward even when we can see each other. There's an open-door feeling to it that's really powerful.'

Douglas Stuart, winner of the 2020 Booker Prize with Suggie Bain, in Publishing Perspectives