Join December issue contributors Naivo and Allison M. Charette as they read from Charette’s translation of Naivo’s work and discuss the translation of Beyond the Rice Fields, the first novel from Madagascar ever translated into English, followed by a discussion of Naivo’s work moderated by WWB Editor Eric M. B. Becker. A reception following the event will feature music from the acclaimed Malagasy musician Razia Said.
Allison M. Charette translates literature from French into English. She received a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for Naivo’s Beyond the Rice Fields, the first novel from Madagascar to be translated into English. She founded the Emerging Literary Translators’ Network in America (ELTNA.org), a networking and support group for early-career translators. Allison has published two book-length translations, in addition to short translated fiction that has appeared in The Other Stories, InTranslation, the SAND Journal, and others. Find her online at charettetranslations.com.
Naivoharisoa Patrick Ramamonjisoa, who goes by the pen name Naivo, has worked as a journalist in his home country of Madagascar and as a professor in Paris, and now works for the press in Canada. “Beyond the Rice Fields” is his first novel, published in March 2012 from Éditions Sépia. He is also the author of numerous (as yet untranslated) short stories, including “Dahalo,” which received the RFI/ACCT prize in 1996, and “Iariv
omandroso,” which was adapted for a theatrical production in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Naivo is working on his second novel, and has just released a short story collection entitled “Madagascar entre poivre et vanille.”
Eric M. B. Becker is editor of Words without Borders. He is also an award-winning journalist and literary translator. In 2014, he earned a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translation of a short story collection by Neustadt Prize for International Literature winner Mia Couto, forthcoming from Biblioasis. Also in 2014, he was resident writer at the Louis Armstrong House. Other translations include work by Brazilian writers Edival Lourenço, Paulo Scott, Eric Nepomuceno, and Carlos Drummond de Andrade and has been awarded a 2016 Fulbright fellowship to translate Brazilian literature. You can find him online at ericmbbecker.com.
After years of living abroad, singer and song-writer Razia Said returned to Madagascar in 2007 to discover her country’s landscape ravaged by illegal logging, slash-and-burn agriculture and the impact of climate change. That trip inspired the production of her first album, the critically-acclaimed Zebu Nation, which was released by Cumbancha Discovery in 2010. The songs on her new album, Akory, address Razia’s life experiences as well as Madagascar’s struggles to cope with an ever-deteriorating political situation, the destruction of the country’s bio-diverse forests and the daily challenges faced by its inhabitants.