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23/07/2017 - 07:00hs

Egyptian writer translated into Portuguese for the first time

‘The Multiple Child', by Andrée Chedid, has now been translated into Portuguese by Carla de Mojana Renard. Deceased in 2011, the Egyptian writer won more than 20 awards in her literary career.

Press Release

The translation of the book was the masters degree thesis of Carla de Mojana di Cologna Renard

São Paulo – Egyptian writer Andrée Chedid, deceased in 2011, had her first book officially translated into Portuguese. Launched this month by publishing house Martin Claret, The Multiple Child (L’Enfant Multiple), written in the 1980s, is now available in Brazil’s main bookstores, in a translation from the French done by Brazilian Carla de Mojana di Cologna Renard.

The translation of the book was part of Renard’s master’s degree thesis, at the program of Language, Literary and Translation Studies in French at University of São Paulo (USP). “I got to know Andrée Chedid through the works of the grandson, Matthieu Chedid, a well-known musician in France. I identified myself because I’m of Egyptian origins: my mother and grandparents were born in the country and then moved to Brazil,” said the translator to ANBA.

Quickly, the journalist, who got her major from Fundação Cásper Líbero and chose translation over her journalistic career, dove in the writer’s books, which cover social topics with a literary style that is very much linked to poetry – even her novels show a poetry influence, according to Renard. At the same time, she would follow the work of Matthieu Chedid, who she met, by chance, during a concert that the musician presented in São Paulo.

“Matthieu is very attached to his grandmother. I was wishing to start doing literary translation and he encouraged me to translate one of Andrée’s books, who had not had any work available in Portuguese just yet,” says the translator.

Renard says that, in addition of being pleasurable, the translation of “Multiple Child” was a challenge, since the writer’s poetic style that also carries a certain musicality, had to be kept. “Andrée used to write with a dictionary beside her, looking for words that would give a rhythm to her text. I tried to do the same in Portuguese, searching for the right word to maintain the musicality. To translate is not only keep the meaning, it’s also a creation act,” says the translator, who advises the reader to read aloud.

The story

Press Release

The cover of The Multiple Child

Acccording to Renard, she chose “The Multiple Child”, among all the writer’s other works, because the book has a little to do with Brazil. The novel tells the story of Omar-Jo, son of a Muslim Egyptian father and a Lebanese Catholic mother, killed during the war in Lebanon, in 1987, after the explosion of a car bomb – which also leaves the 12-year-old boy without one of his arms. The tragedy causes the boy’s grandfather, a troubadour, to take him to Paris, where the merge between East and West shakes up the life of the boy.

“Although written in the 80s, Chedid’s story continues to be relevant. The rough reality faced by many of the refugees in the current scenario that we live in,” says Mayara Zucheli, editorial assistant at Martin Claret.

She says that the publishing company’s staff was stunned with the fact that there wasn’t any translation of the author’s work in Brazil, an author who won over twenty literary prizes in her life. “It was the translator who made first contact with us and offered the translation,” she explains.

A poet, novelist, and playwright, Andrée Chedid is of Lebanese origin, but was born in Cairo in 1920. At 26 years old, she moved to the French capital, where she wrote over 40 works in French – the language she learned since she was a kid, since she always studied in French schools. Two of her novels made their way to the big screen: Le sixième jour and L’autre.

The Multiple Child translation has 265 pages and a first printing of three thousand copies. It’s available in brick and mortar bookstores and also online with a price of BRL 49.90 (USD 16.06).

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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