donal mclaughlin

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New Swiss Writing 2008-2011

Donal translated twenty-nine of the forty-five writers featured in New Swiss Writing (Solothurn 2oo8 ) – two books published to celebrate 30 years of the Solothurner Literaturtage. One book contains the selected texts in their original language (German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic); the companion volume contains the same texts in English translation. Those translated by Donal range from an extract from a novel set in 18th-century France to “Spoken Word”-style material from the present day.

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Following the success of NEW SWISS WRITING in 2008, a second anthology – NEW SWISS WRITING 2009 – appeared in the Spring of 2009. Donal was again commissioned to translate the German-language poetry and prose.

This time, he translated twenty-five of the forty writers. The texts  in question range from an extract from a novel set in the “distant past” to excerpts that reflect the authors’ travels around the globe and/or more personal links with other countries and cultures.

The book was ready in time for the London Book Fair in April – and a bilingual reading followed at the Solothurner Literaturtage in Switzerland in May.

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Following the success of both NEW SWISS WRITING (2008) and NEW SWISS WRITING 2009, a third anthology – NEW SWISS WRITING 2010 – appeared in the Spring of 2010. Donal was again commissioned to translate the German-language texts.

This time, he translated twenty-seven of the thirty-eight writers involved. While there was no poetry written in German to be translated, there was more ‘poetic prose’. More sex. More humour. And more science.

As before, French- and Italian-speaking writers were also included in the volume.

As was – a first! – a Russian-speaking author based in Zurich.

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What was to prove to be the final volume of NEW SWISS WRITING – due to lack of funding in 2012 – appeared in 2011. Donal translated 27 of the authors included – with poetry featuring more prominently again. This took his total – over a period of four years – to over 100 Swiss authors.

While NSW – sadly – will not appear in 2012, projects that have grown from Donal’s work on these anthologies certainly will: look out for novels by Monica Cantieni and Pedro Lenz in Donal’s translation; as well as further extracts (at the very least) from the work of Arno Camenischthe novel Zbinden’s Progress by Christoph Simon; and further titles by Urs Widmer.

Donal wishes to record his thanks to Veronika Jaeggi and the magnificent team behind the Solothurner Literaturtage for involving him each year in what has been a great project. He will also miss working with the editor of the anthologies, Martin Zingg.

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