Mither Tongue – A love letter to translation

(published by Ink, Sweat and Tears 14/04/2021)

Parallel translations always bring a certain kind of joy. I have fond memories of reading Pablo Neruda for the first time, original text on the left, English translation on the right. Feeling out the Spanish sounds out loud with no understanding, then checking the following page and finding that sweet intersection, where sound precedes meaning and then adds to it. The musicality of poetry is obvious when you have the two parts of a poem – sound and meaning – separated onto two sides of a page.

Enter Mither Tongue, a collection of translations of the Chinese poet Jidi Majia, and one that I would struggle to call parallel. Perhaps it’s better named triangular translation, three versions of the same poem dancing across the page. Jidi’s original at the back, English on the left by Denis Mair, and a dialect of Scots on the right.

[Read in full]

Review: Ogadinma Or, Everything Will Be All Right by Ukamaka Olisakwe

(published 18/01/2021)

There’s something unnerving about historical fiction that feels like it could have played out just the same today. Though set in a tumultuous Nigeria in the 1980s, Ogadinma’s themes are sadly, infuriatingly, entirely too relevant today. After a rape turns into an unwanted pregnancy, which in turn is resolved with a dangerous and illegal abortion, seventeen-year-old Ogadinma is forced to leave her home in Kano to live with her aunt and uncle in Lagos. This is the preferable outcome, as opposed to some hurried marriage to bury the shame of the situation – because, of course, it is Ogadinma’s shame to carry, not that of her rapist. Lagos in turn represents new ground and opportunities, and a chance to fall in love; but this veneer is rapidly shattered as the many ways men can control women in this society are put on display.

[Read full review on Bandit Fiction]

Killing Eve: ‘insight into the mind of a killer’

[published in The Boar, 18/10/18]

When Killing Eve was first announced, I was cautiously optimistic. The premise was an enticing one: a crime-thriller show about a government worker chasing down a contract killer, with the two leads played by Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) and Jodie Comer (Doctor Foster) respectively. The idea of a female led show of this type sounded fantastic, though as someone who’s been scorned by mediocre tokenistic attempts in the past (Ghostbusters is a sore point) I knew that much was down to the showrunner. Enter Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

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