Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 7, 2017

Forthcoming AALITRA Symposium: Translating Australian Literature – don’t miss out!

The 2017 AALITRA Symposium: Translating Australian Literature

Date 16 Sep, 2017  Time 2pm to 5.30pm  Cost Free

 Venue Boyd Community Centre, 207 City Road, Southbank, 3006

AALITRA is a national organization that promotes an interest in all aspects of literary translation. Their latest event will include guest speakers Alice Pung, Karen Viggers and Lily Yulianti Farid.

Alice Pung will speak with about her experience of literary translation referring to the translation of her book Unpolished Gem into Italian, German and Indonesian. She will speak also of her experiences in Italy where she has spoken about literary translation at the University of Bologna, the University of Milan and the University of Pisa with her Italian translator and friend Adele D’Arcangelo.

Karen Viggers will talk about her translated books in general and offer insights into the successful marketing of her books in France, in particular. Her books have been translated into French, Italian, Norwegian, Slovenian and Spanish; her works have enjoyed great success in France, selling more than 400,000 copies to date and winning a French Award. The Lightkeeper’s Wife was on the French National Bestseller list for more than 32 weeks.

Lily Yulianti Farid will speak with Paul Thomas of the role literary translation has in spreading cultural knowledge between Indonesia and Australia, referring to the ‘sound’ of the Australian novel in translation, the impressions that Indonesians might retrieve from reading them.

All writers, Pung, Viggers and Yulianti Farid have considerable experience and strong links with the world of translation, its successes and its difficulties. Explore with them the role of translation in spreading cultural knowledge and introducing Australian writers to readers around the world at this free event.

Thanks to the support of the Australian Copyright Agency this is a FREE EVENT. Please book early to avoid disappointment: phone 9614 0494 or email <>

I’ll be going to this event because I’m interested in translation issues, and I had a great time at the last symposium I attended. (I met Dr Brian Nelson, who translated so many of the Zola novels that I loved!)

This one promises to be especially interesting because Lily Yulianti Farid is going to talk about how Australian novels are interpreted in Indonesia.  I did a session with Lily at the Bendigo Writers Festival a couple of years ago, and I reviewed her short story collection Family Room.  She has terrific insights into cross-cultural issues.

Update: Anna at Hybrid Publishers has alerted me this terrific article by Scott Esposito in The Literary Hub (8/7/17).  It’s called On the Redemptive Generosity of Artistic Communities, subtitled How to Find a Little Hope in These Dark Times, and in it Esposito celebrates the community of translators.  It’s worth reading for its insights like this:

One of the reasons I enjoy translation so much is that in order to show us these things, a translator must be selflessness. He or she must care for a text that belongs to another person, another culture—they must show immense resourcefulness and dedication to this book that is not even theirs. Accordingly, translation is a field in which respect for the other is extraordinarily high, and where you often encounter self-abnegation out of respect for a higher purpose. To me, these are the foundations of an ideal community.



  1. Lucky you. Come back with some nuggets for us.


  2. It sounds interesting. I’ll try to go.


    • It would be nice to see you there:)


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