Thursday, February 24, 2011

three percent: per højholt

Chad W. Post, master of Open Letter Books out of the University of Rochester and the force behind accompanying translation blog Three Percent wrote this about some translations I did of Per Højholt's astonishing Praxis 8: Album, Tumult. I'm not finished with Højholt yet, not by a long chalk.

Click here: Three Percent: Per Hojholt in Calque

Friday, February 18, 2011

niels hav

Niels Hav from Lemvig in West Jutland, latterly of Copenhagen's Nørrebro district, is one of this country's finest poets, and, I think, my personal favourite. I've been fortunate enough to translate some of Niels Hav's poems into English and to have had them published in various journals in Canada and the US. Niels tells me some more are coming up in Absinthe #16 this autumn. Listen to the sound of Lemvig here>>. Read the words here:


Det er sådan et stort ord.
Eller fik jeg det galt i halsen?
Elske, hvad er det,
når det kommer til stykket?
Mange veksler med tiden den store
kærlighed til småpenge.
Jeg elsker dig. Og du hiver stikket ud.
Jeg elsker dig. Og du kyler min bog
i nakken på mig.
Jeg elsker dig. Og verden eksploderer!

Vi tørster efter hinanden i uvidenhed,
ligesom elefanter.

Uden børn ingen lykke,
sagde Schumann. Clara fødte ham
syv børn som modgift mod melankoli.
Det var ikke nok!
Han blev sindssyg, forsøgte selvmord
og døde på en nerveanstalt.
Hun spillede klaver. Det er dét,
de kalder kærlighed.

Niels Hav © 2004

red hair

Packed house last night at Copenhagen's LiteraturHaus where I shared the bill with Thomas E. Kennedy, Line-Maria Lång, Niels Hav and Boy in Blue for the launch of The Girl With Red Hair (buy it here>>), an anthology put out by Serving House Books in the US and including Dorthe Nors' Gwen, Betsy and Anne-Marie Jensen in my translation. Great soup, too.

the fish

Novelist and story writer Charlotte Weitze has a new collection out here late February entitled Det hvide kvarter. Publishers Rosinante asked me to translate one of the stories in it. Hear Tim Hinman read The Fish here>> on Charlotte's website.

Monday, February 7, 2011


There was a piece in one of the dailies here about how miserably we book translators are paid. This is true, I imagine, but we do it anyway.

Monday, January 31, 2011


US writer Fiona Maazel, author of Last Last Chance (here>>), has done a great little piece for the website of A Public Space on Dorthe Nors' stories in English. Read Dorthe Nors: A Master of Conjunction here>>. While you're at it, buy the journal, too.

Friday, January 28, 2011

mirror lands honoured

Congratulations to Birgithe Kosovic, whose magnificent Det dobbelte land [Mirror Lands] just won the prestigious Weekendavisen Award for 2010.

There's an English sample out there somewhere, a short excerpt from which has already been put up here>>.

Publishers of the world arise from your slumbers!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Jesper Wung-Sung (born 1971) is an almost improbably productive writer whose hyperactive pen has produced at least a dozen books (all of them critically acclaimed) since winning the Danish Debutant's Award at the Copenhagen Book Fair in 1998. Throughout his work runs one glorious theme: male existence, dissected in all its phases in a remarkable blend of realism and absurdist humour. From the ecstatically received 2009 collection of stories Trælår [Dead Leg](Danish review here>>) comes a story which in every thinkable way is typical Wung-Sung right down to its cryptic title. It'll be published in Absinthe #16 this autumn, and I've called it Close only counts when you're doing your damnedest. It starts like this:

They had buried Mort the Wart in the yard.
Of course, they had not actually buried Mort the Wart in the yard. Not all of Mort the Wart, for his head was sticking up out of the lawn. It had been necessary, though, to gag him. To put a stop to his yelling. The cries. The screams.

Extract © Jesper Wung-Sung
Translation © Martin Aitken

Sunday, January 23, 2011

red hair

Serving House Books in the US have just published an anthology of stories entitled The Girl With Red Hair, edited by Walter Cummins and Thomas E. Kennedy. The book includes fine contributions by Danes Niels Hav, Line-Maria Lång (who graces the cover) and Dorthe Nors, whose story Gwen, Betsy and Anne-Marie Jensen appears in my translation. According to the publishers' site (here>>), the book will be available on Amazon soon. I got mine free.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Janne Teller's remarkable novel Nothing, published in my translation last year in the US and Canada by Simon & Schuster imprint Atheneum, has garnered noteworthy acclaim, being awarded a Printz Honor as one of the top five novels for young adults in the US last year, and a Batchelder Honor as one of the year's three best translated novels in the same category. These are actually major honours. I'd like to think they might have just a little bit to do with me. Nothing will be published in the UK and Commonwealth by Scottish publishing house Strident in April.

a public space

New York journal A Public Space (hereby warmly recommended) has linked to this blog. Meaning I'd better do something about it. Note new design. Note new enthusiasm. A Public Space has just published my translation of Dorthe Nors' magnificent story The Winter Garden in their issue #12. Buy it, it's great.