Chantal Wright

Chantal Wright © Kenny Lim Chantal Wright grew up in Manchester. She studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Girton College, Cambridge and went on to do her postgraduate studies at the University of East Anglia, earning her PhD in Literary Translation in 2008.

She has taught Translation Studies and German Studies at universities in Canada, the United States and the UK. In 2011 she was shortlisted for the 'Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation' for Andreas Steinhöfel’s The Pasta Detectives (Chicken House, 2010).

In 2012 she was awarded the inaugural 'Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation' for her translation of Tzveta Sofronieva’s book of poetry A Hand Full of Water (White Pine Press, 2012).

Three questions to Chantal Wright

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

I always loved learning languages and really enjoyed the literary translation class I took as an undergraduate. When I returned to university after several years spent teaching English abroad, I had an inkling that translation might be my thing and opted to take UEA’s MA in Literary Translation. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and began to try my luck as a literary translator as soon as I graduated. I went on to do a PhD in Literary Translation and so now I’m a practitioner and an academic.
Which German book do you like the best and why?

In terms of contemporary literature, Julia Franck’s Die Mittagsfrau was breathtaking and recently I’ve been gobbling up Ferdinand von Schirach’s incredible stories from the collections Verbrechen und Schuld, in which the author draws on his experiences as a criminal defence lawyer in Berlin. If we’re talking 'Great Books', then I would say Goethe’s Faust, closely followed by Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz.
Is there a particular book you would like to translate?

Berlin Alexanderplatz. It would keep me out of mischief for quite some time, I suspect.
  • Yoko Tawada: 'Portrait of a Tongue': An Experimental Translation ('Porträt einer Zunge', aus der Sammlung Überseezungen).
  • University of Ottawa Press. 2013. Tzveta Sofronieva: A Hand Full of Water (Eine Hand voll Wasser). White Pine Press. 2012.
  • Milena Baisch: Anton and Piranha (Anton taucht ab). Andersen Press. 2013.
  • Andreas Steinhöfel: My Brother and I (Dirk und ich). Carlsen. 2011.
  • Andreas Steinhöfel: The Pasta Detectives (Rico, Oskar und die Tieferschatten). Chicken House. 2010.
  • Cornelia Funke: Princess Pigsty (Prinzessin Isabella). Chicken House. 2007.
  • Cornelia Funke: Pirate Girl (Käpten Knitterbart und seine Bande). Chicken House. 2005.
  • Zoran Drvenkar: Tell Me What You See (Sag mir, was du siehst). Chicken House. 2005.