Literary translation is a balancing act. I love juggling words to share great stories written in Japanese with English readers.
I was a commercial translator for many years until one book changed my life. It was a travel memoir, the true story of art student Aya Goda's journey through China and Tibet in 1989 during the turmoil of Tiananmen. I was riveted by this tale and wanted the world to read it too. Long story short, my translation was eventually published as TAO: On the Road and on the Run in Outlaw China (Portobello), and I became hooked on literary translation.
Since then I've translated the international bestseller Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa (Oneworld); Spark by Naoki Matayoshi (Pushkin Press), the bestselling phenomenon in Japan that is also a Netflix series; and The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda (Bitter Lemon Press), selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2020.
In 2021 I won the Kyoko Selden Memorial Prize for Translation for an excerpt from Durian Sukegawa’s travel memoir A Dosimeter on the Narrow Road to Oku.
When not translating, I like to walk my dog, do sashiko Japanese embroidery and hike in the mountains of Japan.
- FISH SWIMMING IN DAPPLED SUNLIGHT selected as June 2022 book of the month for Harrogate Festivals
- Review of FISH SWIMMING IN DAPPLED SUNLIGHT by Laurence Green for The Japan Society
- Starred review in Publishers Weekly of FISH SWIMMING IN DAPPLED SUNLIGHT By Riku Onda, Bitter Lemon Press, June 2022
- Profile of me in a series celebrating forty years of coeducation at St Mark's College in Adelaide
- Interview with me about SWEET BEAN PASTE for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Japan Chapter blog.
- THE BOY AND THE DOG By Shusei Hase, Viking Press (US), Simon & Schuster (UK), forthcoming November 2022