Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

TRANSLATING CANADIAN LITERATURE: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINA KILBOURNE

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In this interview, I am talking with Christina Kilbourne from Bracebridge, ON about her experience with translation projects. She is the author of five books, several of them have been translated into Ukrainian, Slovenian, and Portuguese.

VICTORIA SEDOVA. One of your previously published books has been recently translated into Ukrainian and launched in Ukraine. Please share your experience about this translation project.

CHRISTINA KILBOURNE. Yes, my novel “The Roads of Go Home Lake” was just launched in Ukraine. It’s very exciting to think that my book will be read in another country. I enjoy reading literature from other parts of the world because it’s like taking a short vacation every time you crack open the cover, or turn on your e-reader, and I’m thrilled knowing readers overseas might have the same experience. I also like to think that I am sharing some of what I love with other people – my stories and my country. I have seen a translated copy, which looks great, but, of course, I can’t read a word other than my name. Still, I’m proud to have a Ukrainian translation and pleased that BookLand Press was able to make the arrangements to have it both translated and published abroad.

VICTORIA SEDOVA. Your publisher mentioned that one of your books is currently being considered for translation into Russian by DONOMNILIT Publishing (www.donomnilit.ru) from Russia. How do you feel about having your work presented to readers in different countries with different cultures?

CHRISTINA KILBOURNE. I think it’s fantastic that “Dear Jo” might end up being translated into Russian. Russia is a huge market and because “Dear Jo” is aimed at a young audience and deals with the theme of internet predators, it’s important to spread the message about online safety as far and wide as possible. Too many young people aren’t aware of how much risk comes with their online behaviours. We are the first generation of parents who have such technologically savvy children and, yet, children don’t have the danger radar that adults do. So it takes parents and children working together to keep kids safe. And that is why “Dear Jo” is so important. It allows parents and kids to start the conversation. Hopefully DONOMNILIT Publishing will go ahead with this translation.

VICTORIA SEDOVA. Please tell me about your latest book “The Flickering Light.”

CHRISTINA KILBOURNE. Like most of my novels, “The Flickering Light” centres on the themes of growing up, domestic violence and child welfare. It explores the dynamics of not just the immediate Cassidy family over several generations, but extended family as well. Set largely in the 1950s, the story follows the Cassidy family as they adopt and then lose custody of a young girl, and examines how members of both families deal with gaining and losing a child. It is set in a fictional town on the banks of the Sydenham River in Southwestern Ontario and based loosely on events that happened during my father’s childhood.

VICTORIA SEDOVA. What inspired you to write this book?

CHRISTINA KILBOURNE. I wrote the initial draft of “The Flickering Light” so long ago that I have actually forgotten the original seed from which this novel grew. I know I wanted to write this particular episode of my father’s life because, growing up, I saw the impact it continued to have on my father and my grandparents. It wasn’t an event that was spoken freely about, so when I first heard about my father’s ‘sister’ I was shocked and intrigued. Then, after my grandparents passed away and I had my own children, the story lodged in my head and I couldn’t get rid of it.

VICTORIA SEDOVA. What are you writing now?

CHRISTINA KILBOURNE. I have just finished writing a YA novel, “Legend of the Limitless Sky” which is the first in what I plan as a three-novel series: “The Apprentice Keeper.” I don’t like to compare it to existing novels or movies, but if I had to, I would say it’s a cross between “The Road” and “City of Ember,” but with a much different take on the evolution of society in a post-apocalyptic world. Essentially it takes place far in the future where two civilizations, both unknown to one another but dependent on the other, discover they are linked.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Victoria Sedova

Victoria Sedova is an accomplished author and literary translator. Her latest poetry collection is The Bay of Lost Love (BookLand Press).

Go to Victoria Sedova’s Author Page