Frank Wynne is a literary translator. Born in Ireland, he moved to France in 1984 where he discovered a passion for language. He worked as a bookseller comic’s publisher and a content director at AOL before being lucky enough to be able to devote himself to translation and writing full time in 2001.
He has translated works by francophone authors including Michel Houellebecq, Patrick Modiano, Pierre Lemaitre, Ahmadou Kourouma, and Virginie Despentes. Having spent almost a decade living in Latin American, he began translating from Spanish in 2010, with authors including Tómas Eloy Martínez, Javier Cercas and Almudena Grandes. His work has earned various awards, including the IMPAC Prize (2002), the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2005) the Scott Moncrieff Prize (2008, 2016) and the Premio Valle Inclán (2012, 2014.)
What was the last book you read?
The glorious Days without End by Sebastian Barry
How did you buy it?
Bricks and mortar bookshop (Daunts, Marylebone)
What’s next on your reading list?
L’Art de perdre by Alice Zeniter (sent by the publisher), which I’m reading on my iPad – I much prefer paper books, but when reading for work, publishers usually send proofs/pdfs
Tell us what you do in 20 words.
Take a book, carefully change every single word while preserving the meaning and the music.
What do you like about your job?
Everything – absolutely everything – except deadlines.
What is the single biggest challenge facing the publishing industry right now?
Online retailers (they know who they are) selling front list at a loss and killing the backlist
Which imprints do you most admire and why?
Imprints rise, fall and rise again – there was a period in the 1980s when I would buy anything published by Picador because the scope and quality of their acquisitions was dazzling. These days, many smaller imprints – MacLehose Press, & Other Stories, Pushkin Press and Oneworld – have some of the most beautifully curated lists, which make me eager to see what they will do next.
Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore and why?
Lutyens & Rubinstein is my favourite in London, but El Ateneo (a vast converted cinema) in Buenos Aires is my favourite bookshop in the world
Which great novel have you tried to read but failed?
Henry James’ The Golden Bowl
What do you love about The London Book Fair?
The Literary Translation Centre – a wonderful showcase, and a great place to meet up with old friends, and I love the twilight world of the foreign rights centre, where diamonds are to be mined if you but know where to look.
What is the one essential item you bring to the Fair?
A keen sense of sanity
What piece of advice would you give first-timers at the Fair?
Abandon all hope ye who enter here
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