SNIPPETS from the literary world
Joined up writing
HAVE a look at the books on your bookshelves. Or in a bookshop. Or in a library. Find me just one that has more than one publisher’s logo on its spine. I can’t.
But the new edition of Jane Rogers’s The Testament of Jessie Lamb has two – one for Dingwall-based Sandstone Press, which published the book in February last year, after which it went on to be longlisted for the Man Booker Prize – and one for Canongate, which next month publishes a joint edition.
Rogers’s book, set in a world where a deadly virus threatens all pregnant women, was, according to Man Booker judge Chris Mullin “by far the most moving of all the 132 entries”. Its longlisting for the prize brought about a series of offers from other publishers, all of which Sandstone turned down. Canongate had the sense to offer a joint publication – a decision whose wisdom was proved only last month, when the novel went on to win the Arthur C Clarke award, the UK’s top prize for science fiction.
Only last month, Canongate signed a deal with Faber to produce jointly published audio editions of a dozen of its titles each year. Just as Sandstone will benefit from Canongate’s bigger publicity and marketing operation, so Faber is tapping into the production and sales expertise that came to Canongate when it bought specialist audio publisher CSA in 2010. In these fraught times for publishers, co-operation between them might be a growing trend.
Found in translation
Another question. Suppose you are going to translate a book. To do a thorough job, you might well want to look at the work of other people who have translated it. What do you think is the greatest number of other translations you might consult?
For The New Testament in Scots, one of the greatest books in the language, William Lorimer (1885-1967) read no fewer than 180 translations in more than 20 other languages. To mark the 30th anniversary of the first public reading from the book – which was revised and completed by his son Robin – an event will be held at the National Library of Scotland on 26 July, with James Robertson, who has written the introduction to its latest edition.
Behind all that vast scholarship, you would have thought, there must have been a powerful Christian faith.
Wrong. Lorimer was an agnostic.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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