Saturday, April 30, 2022 – The monocle minute


interrogator / Frank Wyne

speak our language

Frank Wynne is an Irish literary translator, editor and Chair of the Jury for the 2022 International Booker Prize (writes Georgia Bisbas). After working as a bookseller in Paris in the 1980s, he began his career as a translator in 2001 Animalia by Jean-Baptiste del Amo won the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2020. He currently divides his time between London and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. He tells us about his favorite weekend markets and the literary classics he strays to.

Coffee, tea or something pressed to go with the headlines?
coffee and cigarettes. These days I get all my messages online so I take my coffee to the balcony overlooking a Canary Islands gorge growing wild with bougainvillaea and I scroll down to the sinking…

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, a loaf of sourdough – because I’m too lazy – and my own body weight of cheese.

favorite bookstore?
So, so many. When I’m in London, the London Review Bookshop – that’s how often I stumble across brilliant authors or books I don’t know, and I like rearranging the tables to put translations in more visible places. When I’m in Dublin, The Winding Stair and Books Upstairs. When in Paris I always visit Delamain, which is almost the platonic ideal of a bookshop. But my favorite bookstore in the world is El Ateneo in Buenos Aires because of the sheer vastness and grandeur of a huge theater converted into a bookstore.

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

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

do you like podcasts If yes, which?
There are many that I have enjoyed from the previous series of Serial to regular visits words and nerds; Chad posts three percentabout literature in translation; Colombia is calling; and, despite being a Youtube channel and not a podcast, @TranslatorsAloud, a brilliant initiative by Tina Kover and Charlie Coombe to have literary translators read from their work.

What’s the best thing you’ve seen on TV lately?
I was both blown away by Michaela Cole’s stunning, brilliant performance i can destroy you and by Russell T Davies Funny, Sad, Sublime It’s a sin. I’m currently enjoying the TV adaptation by Emily St. John Mandels station eleven and I look forward to seeing what Channel 4 does with Candice Carty-Williams queen.

Any movie recommendations?
I loved Liquorice Pizza. I’m a fan of coming-of-age dramas and this one ranks up there Dazed and confused and Almost famous. Although I thought it was flawed, I loved Joel Coen’s beautiful expressionism Tragedy of Macbeth with Denzel Washington and the wonderful Frances McDormand.

what about books
There are so many books in translation I’d love to recommend, but I don’t think I can until the Booker judging process is complete, so here are a handful of books I’ve loved over the past year: Keith Ridgeway A shockTorrey Peters Detransition babyKei Millers Things I’ve held back, how beautiful we were by Imbolo Mbue and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth, we are momentarily beautiful.

What do you hear before you drift off?
Usually audio books. The Polyphonic Reading by George Saunders Lincoln in the bardo is glorious, with a cast of more than 100 weaving the ghostly voices of Oak Hill Cemetery. I went back to the 2005 Naxos audio version by James Joyce Ulysses read by Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan; it’s a real classic.


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