Fiona Rintoul

Fiona Rintoul © Fiona Rintoul Fiona Rintoul was born in Glasgow and studied French and German at the University of St Andrews. She began writing and translating fiction after completing an MLitt in creative writing at the University of Glasgow in 2008.

Prior to that she worked as a magazine editor in London, translating financial and art texts as part of her job. She has a particular interest in East Germany. Her first novel, The Leipzig Affair, which was shortlisted for the Saltire first book of the year award and broadcast on BBC R4’s Book at Bedtime, is set in the former GDR.


Three questions to Fiona Rintoul

Why did you choose to become a translator? Is it the profession you always wanted?

During the last few years I have translated some German poetry. Then I had the chance to translate Zweig’s "Erziehung vor Verdun". It was a difficult book to start with but also very satisfying, since the book was so great.
Which German book do you like the best and why?

My favourite German book from my time at university is Der Schimmelreiter by Theodor Storm. I can’t say exactly why. I really liked the atmosphere of this novel and the landscape Storm describes. Recently I very much enjoyed In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts by Eugen Ruge and Heimsuchung by Jenny Erpenbeck. Both these novels deal with the German past in different ways and both do it very successfully in my view.
Is there a particular book you would like to translate?

I would have liked to translate In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts, but that has already been done really well. As I loved Erziehung vor Verdun I would like to translate Junge Frau von 1914, which belongs to the same cycle of novels. But I would also love to translate a new novel by a contemporary author.

Selection of translated titles

  • Arnold Zweig: Outside Verdun (Erziehung vor Verdun). Freight Books, 2014
  • Gutter Magazine, Spring 2011. (Übersetzung der Gedichte  Gangart zwei: Richtung Schöhauser Allee von Johannes Jansen und Die Würfel sind gefallen von Gabriele Stötzer)