Julian Evans is a writer and translator from French and German. His books include Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific and a biography of Norman Lewis. He is the translator of Norbert Gstrein’s A Sense of the Beginning and co-translator of his Winters in the South. Among his translations from French are Yasmina Khadra’s The Dictator’s Last Night and Michel Déon’s The Foundling Boy, The Foundling’s War, and The Great and the Good. He has written and presented radio and TV documentaries, including the BBC’s 20-part series on the rise of the European novel, The Romantic Road, and the film José Saramago: A Life of Resistance. He has also reported from central Europe and has covered the current conflict in Ukraine from the frontline. He is a recipient of the Académie Française Prize for the Advancement of French Literature.
Selection of translated titles:
- Norbert Gstrein, A Sense of the Beginning (Eine Ahnung vom Anfang). MacLehose Press 2016.
- Norbert Gstrein, Winters in the South (Die Winter im Süden). MacLehose Press, 2012 (with Anthea Bell).
Questions to Julian Evans:
Why did you choose to become a translator? Is it the profession you always wanted?
Alexander Pushkin called translators ‘the post horses of literature’. I was lucky enough to be able to read German (and French) writers in the original and I liked the idea of delivering their worlds across borders into mine. It’s an activity that has evolved for me, the result of that first enthusiasm.
Which German book do you like the best and why?
Of the many German writers whose greatness I’d champion, I’m drawn repeatedly to the stories of Heinrich von Kleist. There are paragraphs of his I can read again and again and still not work out exactly how he does it.