Sebastian Barry, Anne Enright & Hugo Hamilton – Dublin Writers Festival – Review


Sebastian Barry, Anne Enright & Hugo Hamilton – Translating Ireland – Review by Helen O’Leary

Held in The Printworks, Dublin Castle. Chairperson: Doireann Ní Bhriain

This event brought together three interesting and articulate Irish novelists to share their experiences of being translated and to read excerpts of their work. The words of Anne Enright, Hugo Hamilton and Sebastian Barry have been translated widely over the years. Each gave a personal perspective and shared amusing anecdotes of past experiences with translators.

Irish writers can present a challenge to translators with our Hiberno-English and indirect use of language. The art of a good translation was discussed, preserving a sense of the work without sacrificing tone and rhythm. The essence of a story can be “absences” or what is left unsaid, an element that can be tricky to capture in a translation.

Hugo Hamilton read a passage from his novel and memoir the “The Speckled People”. German was his first language, and he spoke of the strangeness of reading his own work translated into the German language. Anne Enright shared a humorous excerpt from The Forgotten Waltz. Sebastian Barry read from his novel “A Long Long Way”. It was an apt choice describing a scene with returning soldier Willie Dunne took place not far from where we were sitting in Dublin Castle.

The Ireland Literature Exchange presented this interesting event. This is a national association supporting the translation of literature from Ireland and promoting it abroad.

You can read our review of The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry here.

This event took place as part of the Dublin Writers Festival, which finishes today!

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