Where do you write? What does your working space look like?
In many places. My studio is actually an open room in my house, and I can really concentrate only when no one is at home. That’s why I often leave early and settle down in a café, or take a few days out of town in a quiet place where I can disconnect from everything. For the writing of this novel I accepted a short residence near Venice offered by Ca’ Foscari University, and this really helped me to finish the book.
What was the experience of working with the book’s translator, Rosalind Harvey, like? How closely did you work together on the English edition? Did you offer any specific guidance or advice? Were there any surprising moments during your collaboration, or joyful moments, or challenges?
Rosalind and I have worked together on several projects and I think she is a very talented translator, definitely one of the best. I’m glad that she is receiving this recognition. She deserves all the prizes.
Why do you feel it’s important for us to celebrate translated fiction?
Because fiction is the most powerful vehicle of empathy that I know.
More than journalism or anthropological studies, it allows us to connect beyond ideologies, and to enter into a space of intimacy with people from other nations. It makes us share their fears, their hopes, and their life experiences.
If you had to choose three works of fiction that have inspired your career the most, what would they be and why?
La vie devant soi by Emil Ajar, because of its ironic and humorous way of criticising racism in French society and its beautiful description of how it feels to be a migrant child.
Los recuerdos del porvenir by Elena Garro, because it allowed me to see that my country is indeed a magical place.
Suicidos ejemplares by Enrique Vila-Matas, because it made me understand that the ‘short story’ is a major genre.