Dec 23, 2019
Sheila Fischman is a renowned Canadian translator who specializes in translating works of contemporary Quebec literature into English.
Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan she was brought up in Ontario, and holds an M.A. from the University of Toronto. She is a former editor of the Montreal Star's book section, as well as a columnist for The Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette and a broadcaster for CBC Radio. She's also a founding member of the Literary Translators' Association of Canada and has translated more than 200 Quebec works into English, including novels by such noted authors as Michel Tremblay, Hubert Aquin, Anne Hébert, Marie-Claire Blais, Roch Carrier, Yves Beauchemin, and Kim Thúy. She has won many awards including the Governor General's Award for Translation, and the Molson Prize for the Arts.
We met at her home in Montreal to talk, among other things, about Quebec, her career and role as a translator, Mordecai Richler, the Plateau in Montreal, North Hatley, house parties, booze and poets, the language question, La Guerre, Yes Sir, the church and large families, separatism, names on front covers, obsessiveness, humility, Leonard Cohen, musicality, swear words and the vessels of the alter, capturing 'voice", pure laine and much more.