Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to Know Writer, Editor, Translator... ÉLISABE...

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to Know Writer, Editor, Translator...
: Get to Know Writer, Editor, Translator...   É LISABETH VONARBURG  É lisabeth Vonarburg NK -  Élisabeth, you were born in Par...
Get to Know Writer, Editor, Translator...
Élisabeth Vonarburg

NK - Élisabeth, you were born in Paris, France where EVERYONE would love to live and yet you don't. What brought you to Canada, and, specifically, to Chicoutimi, Québec?

ÉV - I never lived in Paris and certainly wouldn’t love to live there, although I like to go there as a tourist! It has its charm, in certain places. I am a country girl at heart. Chance or, as I like to believe, serendipity, brought me to Québec and more specifically to Chicoutimi, thanks to a program of “military cooperation” between France and Canada—various young scientists were sent all over the world instead of doing their military service. I was just part of my then husband’s luggage. But we both wanted to leave France, which in the early Seventies, post-68, was an even shittier place to be than it is now.

NK - You are a fiction and non-fiction writer, a poet, an editor and a translator (you've translated the works of Tanith Lee and Marion Zimmer Bradley to French, among others). You are a lecturer, and for eleven years have been literary director of the science fiction publication, Solaris. You hosted the radio show Demain la veille on Radio Canada, and won Le Grand Prix de la SF francaise for Le Silence de la Cité/Silent City, and a Philip K. Dick award special citation for In the Mothers' Land/Chroniques du pays des mères. You have published...I've lost count of the many dozens of novels and short stories in French! Some of your work has been translated into English, German, Japanese and Romanian. What in the world fuels you?

ÉV - I’m easily bored. But seriously, words fuel me—I did read a lot, still do, although quite a bit less. Dreams fuel me—I still dream a lot. The world fuels me. And fortunately “reality” has only a limited hold on me. I fell into SF & Fantasy and genres in general at fifteen, which was the Golden Age in the early Sixties. I would likely never have written a line if not for SF. And I have been blessed with what we French call une heureuse nature, i.e. mostly a lot of energy. Winding down, now, but still…

NK - Folklore has it that you had a Big Dream and out of that emerged your Tyranael series, the initial book Dreams of the Sea/Les rêves de la mer. Please talk about that dream and that series.

ÉV - As with many folktales, that one is true. I had just fallen into SF etc. and begun voraciously reading everything I could find, a very œcumenical (read: everything and the kitchen sink) approach to genres, for which I am extremely grateful, in French then in English. After about a year of that diet, I Had A Dream. Which amounts to one sentence in the journal I was then keeping. And I could say that all that I wrote from then on was contained in that one sentence—until I met Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, that is. 

I started writing at sixteen, wrote four complete versions of it, 2000 pages each, first long-hand, then on a rickety-tick-tick typewriter, and finished the fourth version in 1978. I dabbled at it for two more versions (incomplete) while growing up and writing other stuff like Silent City and In The Mothers’ Land. Found out at some point that the damned thing was still very much alive in my heart and mind and decided to Finish It for my fiftieth birthday. So it took 34 years. It evolved from a trilogy (it was a series from the very beginning—I’m a cathedral builder!) to a pentalogy (five books); it is a loving hommage to classic SF (i.e. what I’d read between ages 15 and 25), with a few twists of course. It's a planet story (two planets in fact) taking a thousand years to unfold, with Terrans and Others, mutants, colonists who break away from Bad Mother Earth, and Diversely Mysterious Stuff. I wanted to stay true to the original dream and what I’d found (partly) it meant to me, not betray it by “modernizing” it, i.e. adding all I had learned (and read) in the interval SF-wise as well as myself-wise (or unwise). It is still the only world (and story) in which I would like to live, of all those I've created. I literally lived there for at least fifteen years, from inception to the fourth version. I grew up with it—it helped me grow up—in more ways than one.

NK - What are you working on at the moment that would be of interest to English and French readers?

ÉV - Well, I am always amazed that anything I am interested in writing can be of interest to anyone but me. But since you asked: a science-fiction novel (after two pseudo-fantasy series taking place in a parallel universe, one from a XVIth to a XIXth century and one mostly set in a XIIIth century). An honest-to-goddess SCIENCE-fiction novel, yeah, with which I hope to come to grips with what we are currently going through. But I am not an almost-here-and-now kind of SF writer, I must take wide detours to grapple with contemporary questions, be it feminism, politics, economics or ecology (which will all be motifs in the novel). So: two planets, and multi-parallel universes. Ah: and a black hole!

NK - You are a translator of many books and your writing also has been translated. Any thought on both processes?

ÉV - My first translation from English to French dates back to my encounter with SF: I spent a depressed month of July 1967 translating John Windham’s The Chrysalids. I loved the experience and later on, it helped. At some point, I had the opportunity of translating for a Belgium publisher (a novel by Tanith Lee). After that, I begged the literary editor of Denoël's SF line Présence du Futur to allow me to translate Tiptree’s Up The Walls of the World and, seeing a sample of what I could do, she let me do it. Since then I've translated a lot of American, British and Canadian authors, with the added bonus that at some point I worked for a French publisher who let me choose what I wanted to translate. 

I love translating. When I have to do it instead of writing, to earn a living, it is still writing. And my luck has mostly held, translating what I like—not that I choose anymore, but I usually like the stories I translate. I am very happy about introducing a new readership to them. Translators are what we call in French passeurs, people who serve as links between cultures and people. I’m glad I’ve been given the opportunity to be one, in my modest measure, for the genres I love. 

As for being translated, that’s a whole other bag of beans. And also a comfortable one for me, as I have been blessed with two wonderful translators, very different, but both excellent, Jane Brierley and Howard Scott, both recipients of the Governor General Award for translation—not for my books I hasten to add, although they might as well have been, in my opinion! Jane knew nothing about SF and I educated her while she educated me, much more importantly, in what translation means when you are the one being translated. Howard knows and loves SF but I learned as much from him as from Jane, translation-wise. I collaborated with both of them, as much as 50%, I’d say, and they were nice enough to let me do it. I certainly became a better translator for having been translated, thanks to them. And a better writer, too. Jane has a writer’s soul. It helps. When she and Candas Jane Dorsey (the then publisher and literary editor of Tesseract Books, and also a genre writer, and an excellent one) revised In The Mothers' Land with me, they persuaded me to change some important things (something that wasn’t in character for one of the protagonists) and they were so right! I realized then what a really good translator and a really good literary editor could do, how much they could help a story be the best it can be. Which is why I bemoan the downward spiraling of quality in both translators and editors nowadays (and especially with the laxism in auto-publishing). But that is another rant.



Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to know Graphic Artist andPhotographer ISTVAN...

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to know Graphic Artist and
Photographer ISTVAN...
: Get to know Graphic Artist and Photographer ISTVAN KADAR... Istvan Kadar NK - You work with images. Did that interest in v...

Get to know Graphic Artist and

Photographer ISTVAN KADAR...

Istvan Kadar

NK - You work with images. Did that interest in visual art come about in childhood, or later?

IK - It started in my childhood. My parents told me that I liked to draw and paint rather than playing with others in the kindergarten.

When I finished high school, I knew I wanted to be a professional in the art field. For a while, I was torn between acting and going along the path of visual art, but very soon I realized I'd feel more comfortable working behind the curtain, so I went to college for graphic design. I am a self-taught photographer.

NK - What led you to this work professionally?

IK - After I finished my studies I got a job as a graphic designer at Icon Magazine where I worked with images and I fell in love with that process. Later I held the post of Art Director at notable advertising agencies, both in Budapest, Hungary and in Toronto, Canada. Now, though, I focus more on my own art, and I work as a freelance graphic designer from home.

NK - You have a large body of work and I know your images sell on the Getty sites. Getty site

IK - I love traveling and that's a huge part of why I started to take travel photos and sell them on Getty. It's almost like a dream job: go see the world and meanwhile you take photos and make a living from that. But unfortunately, I'm not employed as a travel photographer. I pay my own travel expenses, and while there is an income, I can't make a living from only selling travel photos. Stock photography pays about 15%-20% of the price charged for a photo. Still, if you want to sell, I think it's worth it to work with the big agencies. Large companies and corporations search for stock photos because they can browse millions of images on the major sites. That, by the way, brings up an interesting question: why wouldn't someone just Google my name and buy my photos much cheaper from my website: Istvan Kadar Design

NK - You've won the National Geographic first prize in the Nature Category, and the Hungarian Press Photo Award. Clearly, there are some photos that are closer to your heart, like your amazing images from Transylvania, where you were born. 

IK - Taking photos where I grew up is always close to my heart. The great memories and nostalgia give them a special value.

NK - You designed the fabulous covers for my new series and I know you've done covers for several other writers' books. Can you say something about the process of doing a book cover?

IK - Designing book covers is my favorite graphic design work. It involves combining photography, illustration, and typography. I've always admired writers because I am not that great with words, so it's a terrific feeling to create visual art for another artist. I love creating something that's in the writer's mind and bringing it to life as an image.

NK - How can people contact you to see or buy your photos, or to hire you for graphic artwork?

IK - Anyone can reach me on my contact page here: Istvan Kadar contact

Photoshoot in Pamukkale, Turkey

Buffalo Farmer, Guilin, China

Cormorant Fisher, Li River, China

Lambs, Transylvania, Romania

Bran Castle, Transylvania

Art Photo

The Toad Prince

Book Covers

Cover Designs by Istvan Kadar