Translations and Textual Interventions…

I’ve been rewriting The Knight’s Tale but I’m going to be enigmatic and not tell you what angle I’m taking. But you might like to know I’ve been reading Raymond Chandler, revisiting the original, reading snippets of Two Noble Kinsmen and going on various mind-expanding websites which shall remain anonymous until the piece is finished. Suffice to say it’s great fun, TOTALLY different from the bingo version and is a monologue in a male voice.

Am tired today after attending the T S Eliot Prize event which is always good and was exceptionally fruitful last night. Keiren Phelan, without whose encouragement I’d never have applied for this funding, was the first person I saw. It was a lovely beginning. He reminded me that Jane Draycott was working on a similar project. Then Jane came over to chat! Have been meaning for ages to chat to her about her translation of the medieval dream text, Pearl, and promised to email her and begin dialogue. Also brilliant to hear that Ros Barber has finished The Marlowe Papers. She and Jane have decided we should form a mini society for women working on medieval-Elizabethan rewrites which would involve drinking. I’m game. Also had a nice chat with George Szirtes about finding the time to write. He recommended a six-week intensive – he finds that when translating a book it’s inititally slow then he reaches a point where the project must build momentum. That’s when he needs his six weeks. I’ve booked one week in May which is a start. I’ve always found retreats immensely helpful so the plan is to try to write a draft a day when I’m away. What Roving Mic needs is MOMENTUM.

Derek Walcott won, the first time a Black writer has ever won the prize so that was cause for celebration in itself. It was nice to see more Black writers at the event than there ever have been, Roger Robinson, Nick Makoha, Jan Kofi-Tsepo and of course, Bernardine Evaristo who was one of the judges. Had a great chat with Nick and Roger about T S Eliot’s The Wasteland, The Four Quartets et al. reminded me how much I miss engaging with other writers and that there’s no substitute for meeting them in the flesh. So more of the same, please.


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