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French Author & Translator Event

How Translation Influences and Questions Literature: An Evening with Christophe Claro, sponsored by SFU World Literature & the Consulate General of France in Vancouver


Join internationally acclaimed author and prolific translator, Christophe Claro, as he reads from his latest work, Electric Flesh (Chair électrique in French), and tackles the complex issue of translation and how it influences and questions literature.

"Samuel Beckett said somewhere that books were like icebergs drifting across the continents, waiting for a place to settle. When you translate a book, you’re not manufacturing an equivalent; it’s not like importing a regular product. You try to decipher its DNA, then rebuild the whole thing. In order to do that you have to be sure that you have the proper tools, and, predominantly, the right momentum. You have to internalize the music, not the notes, the colors, not the exact hues. That’s why I work quickly when doing the first draft, because I want to keep the initial speed of the creation, and I kind of trust my linguistic instinct. Each book is written in its own language, has its own logic (however complicated or seemingly absurd). I would say that, in a way, you have to become the language of the text." - Christophe Claro, excerpt from an interview with the Quarterly Conversation

Question and  answer period to follow, including audience participation. Event hosted by Ken Seigneurie, WL Director.


Christophe Claro is a renowned French writer and translator. He is one of the leading promoters of contemporary American literature in France. His translations in French include works by William T. Vollmann, Thomas Pynchon, Mark Z. Danielewski, Salman Rushdie, John Barth, James Flint, William H. Gass and Hubert Selby Jr., amongst many others. One of his novels, Electric Flesh (Chair électrique in French), was translated in English and published in the United States in 2006 (translation by Brian Evenson). After his studies in literature, Claro works as a bookseller and becomes a corrector for different publishing houses. He published his first novel, Ezzelina, in 1986. His first translation, Kilomètre zéro, written by Thomas Sanchez, was published in 1990.

Since 2004, Claro is also the co-director of the American fiction series, "Lot 49", within Le Cherche Midi Publishing. He created the blog, Le Clavier cannibale and describes himself as a "literary treasures hunter".


Date: Thursday, October 27, 2011
Time: 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: SFU Surrey
Room 2750 in Podium 2, past the mezzanine
Simon Fraser University, Surrey
#250 - 13450 102 Avenue
Surrey, BC V3T 0A3


Event is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited, and registration is required.

RSVP by clicking here.