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A quick look at Italian books in translation

There’s lots of life in Italian literature and I’ve decided to bring little nuggets of Italian Literary Life and tips on the great Italian books to anyone who enjoys reading in Italian or who would like to help me make my case for some of the chosen texts to be translated into English!

I’m finding Italian fiction pretty exciting at the moment, it’s gotten much more reader-friendly and some fantastic books are making it into translation (for big people see The Parrots (I Pappagalli) and How I lost the War (Come Ho Perso la Guerra) by Filippo Bologna, Enchantment (Incanto) by Pietro Grossi, or the riotious social satire Let the Games Begin (Che la Festa Cominci) by Niccolo’ Ammaniti. For little people there’s the great new Save the Story series by Pushkin Children’s featuring some great Italian authors like Alessandro Baricco (with The Story of Don Juan) and others due out in 2014 (watch this space for children’s stories from Andrea Camilleri, Stefano Benni and a great favourite of mine, Melania Mazzucco). And not forgetting the Marsh award-winner In the Sea there are Crocodiles (Nel mare ci sono i coccodrilli. Storia vera di Enaiatollah Akbari) by Fabio Geda and translated by Howard Curtis.

Being a budding literary translator, I’m obviously always on the lookout for a great wee story that deserves to make it out of Italian and into English, so it can reach a wider public. And if I just so happened to be the one to take on this momentous but fundamentally –  and absolutely necessary of course – task, then that would be just lovely too. But not wanting to get ahead of myself… what I’d like to do is just tell the world about any great books I’ve come across in Italian, and if the world wants to give me a call, well, I’m here. But don’t worry world, I won’t be too upset if it doesn’t happen right away. That’s the good thing about stories, there’s always another, even better one out there that might be my ticket to translation fame and fortune!

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