Saturday April 30, 2022 – La Minute Monocle

Interviewer / Frank Wynne

speak our language

Frank Wynne is an Irish literary translator, editor and chairman of the jury for the 2022 International Booker Prize (writes Georgia Bisbas). After spending time in Paris as a bookseller in the 1980s, he began his career as a translator in 2001. His recent translation of animal by Jean-Baptiste del Amo won the 2020 Republic of Conscience Prize. He currently divides his time between London and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. He tells us about his favorite weekend markets and the classic literary fiction he drifts to.

Coffee, tea or something rushed to go with the headlines?
Coffee and cigarettes. I get all my news online these days, so I grab my coffee on the balcony, overlooking a ravine in the Canary Islands where wild bougainvillea grows, and I doom-scroll…

Do you have a favorite weekend market?
When I’m in London, Chapel Market, near Angel. Here in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Mercado de Nuestra Señora de Africa, where I buy fresh fish, sourdough bread – because I’m too lazy to make it – and my own weight in cheese.

Favorite bookstore?
So, so. When I’m in London, the London Review Bookshop – so often I come across brilliant writers or books I don’t know and like to rearrange the tables to put the translations in more visible places. When I’m in Dublin, The Winding Stair and Books Upstairs. Whenever I’m in Paris, I always visit Delamain, which is almost the platonic ideal of a bookstore. But my favorite bookstore in the world is El Ateneo in Buenos Aires, for the scale and scale of a vast theater turned bookstore.

What source of information do you wake up to?
BBC Radio 4. It usually makes me so angry that I to have to Get out of bed.

What radio station and what DJ do you listen to?
WQXR New York. They mainly play electronic music and contemporary classical music. I’m still a regular listener to Late join on BBC Radio 3.

Do you like podcasts? If yes, which ones?
There are many things that I enjoyed, from the previous series of Serial to regular visits to words and nerds; Chad Posts three percenton literature in translation; Call of Colombia; and, although it’s a Youtube channel and not a podcast, @TranslatorsAloud, a brilliant initiative by Tina Kover and Charlie Coombe where literary translators read their work.

What’s the best thing you’ve seen on TV lately?
I was blown away by Michaela Cole’s blistering, shining I can destroy you and by the funny, sad, sublime of Russell T Davies It’s a sin. I’m currently enjoying the TV adaptation of Emily St John Mandel station eleven and I can’t wait to see what Channel 4 will do with Candice Carty-Williams Queen.

Movie recommendations?
I loved Licorice Pizza. I’m a sucker for coming of age dramas and this one’s up there with Dazed and confused and almost known. Although I thought it was flawed, I enjoyed Joel Coen’s beautiful expressionism Macbeth tragedy with Denzel Washington and the wonderful Frances McDormand.

What about books?
There are so many books in translation that I’d love to recommend, but I don’t think I can until Booker’s review process is complete, so here are a handful of books that I loved the last year: Keith Ridgeway’s A shockTorrey Peter’s Detransition babyby Kei Miller Things that I remembered, How beautiful we were by Imbolo Mbue and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth, we are briefly beautiful.

What do you listen to before falling asleep?
Usually audio books. Multi-Voice Reading by George Saunders Lincoln at Bardo is glorious, with a cast of over 100 weaving together the spiritual voices of Oak Hill Cemetery. I went back to the 2005 audio version of James Joyce’s Naxos Ulysses read by Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan; it’s a real classic.

Comments are closed.