Translator raced to beat Russian vote

  • Article by: LAURIE HERTZEL
  • Updated: September 26, 2008 - 6:01 PM

The Angel of Grozny by Asne Seierstad

By Laurie Hertzel

Nadia Christensen of Edina had just three months in which to translate Åsne Seierstad's new book, "The Angel of Grozny." The publisher was eager to get the book into stores in advance of Russian elections, so Christensen was translating even as Seierstad was reporting and writing -- and rewriting, which, of course, led to retranslating.

It was a lot of fast, hard work, "but I was very happy to have a part in this powerful book," said Christensen, who has been translating books for 20 years. She usually works on poetry and fiction. Seierstad's book, about the Chechnyan war, is nonfiction, but it was still a good fit. "It's a very literary prose that she writes," Christensen said.

This was her second major literary job of the year; she also translated Norwegian novelist Peter Hoeg's "The Quiet Girl."

Also ...

• Brian Turner served seven years with the U.S. Army, deployed to Bosnia and Iraq. He is also a poet of some renown, earning a master of fine arts degree from the University of Oregon and publishing his poetry in the Georgia Review, Poetry Daily and elsewhere. His first book, "Here, Bullet," published by Alice James Books, is a first-person account of the Iraq war and has been named an editor's choice of the New York Times. Turner will be in Minneapolis to read his poetry at 7 p.m. Monday at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Av. S.

The University of Minnesota Press has reprinted "Distant Fires: Duluth to Hudson Bay," Scott Anderson's recounting of his 1,700-mile canoe trip. The beautiful pen-and-ink illustrations are by Les Kouba.

• Tim Nolan's latest collection of poetry, "The Sound of It," has been published by New Rivers Press. Nolan, a Minneapolis attorney, has been featured on Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac." He'll discuss his book at 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at the University of Minnesota Bookstore in Minneapolis.

• Heather Bouwman's new book, "The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap," was published this month by Marshall Cavendish. It is a historical fantasy for middle-grade children. Bouwman is an associate professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. She'll do a book signing at 2 p.m. next Sunday at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, and another Nov. 8 at the Loft in Minneapolis.

• Jim Johnson will present his inaugural reading today as Duluth's new poet laureate. The reading will be at 3 p.m. at Weber Music Hall at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Johnson has written five books and is a winner of New Rivers Press' Minnesota Voices Award. He succeeded Barton Sutter in the two-year position.

Writers, editors, publishers and graphic designers are invited to the sixth annual Magazine Celebration at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Open Book, 1011 Washington Av. S., Minneapolis. The event is open to the public; admission is $30, or $18 for members of the Loft or the Minnesota Magazine and Publications Association.

Laurie Hertzel • 612-673-7302

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