Writing round the table

Helsinki’s poetry moon festival, Runokuu, is in the last week of August. I spent it with a dozen colleagues, translating Finnish poems and listening to some of the poets. That was the perfect way to mark ten years of living in Finland. As I’d hoped, the poetry translation workshop made me think hard about aContinue reading “Writing round the table”

Same here

For Women in Translation Month, I’d like to remember a woman translator I missed by a whisker, and share her thoughts on writing. Tarja Roinila was a prolific, much-loved, and much-awarded translator into Finnish. She died in 2020, aged just 56. She’d been translating prose, poetry and philosophy, from French, German and Spanish, for halfContinue reading “Same here”

Get back to writing

Summer stretches gloriously before us. If you’re in Finland, the holidays are well underway. You won’t expect to hear from your colleagues again for the rest of this month. And if you’re elsewhere in Europe, you still have time to get yourself to Helsinki for 18 and 19 August. Why come to Helsinki? To joinContinue reading “Get back to writing”

Pitch your book

You have a great idea for a book, you’ve begun writing it, you’re sure your readers will appreciate it. You only have to convince a publisher. Where on earth do you start? I’m going to talk about non-fiction here, particularly about creative non-fiction. That means bringing ideas out of academia to a wider readership. I’llContinue reading “Pitch your book”

Revise!

“Revise and resubmit” are three words that fill academic writers with dread. My own PhD wasn’t ready when I submitted it first. Second time round, it was, because what was on the page more closely matched what was in my head. Two decades later, I remember how that process of reworking feels. Now, editing andContinue reading “Revise!”

101 ways to write

Sometimes imposing restrictions on your writing can be freeing. Translators know about this. We turn other people’s words into new ones in a different language that doesn’t work the same way. To quote Ginger Rogers, we do everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards, in heels. If you want to ginger up your writing, get yourContinue reading “101 ways to write”

Spring into Writing 2022: join us on retreat!

The days are getting longer. The clocks will soon change. Our Wednesday writing group finds the sun rising earlier means we’re waking up earlier. Does that give us more time to write? Finally being back on campus or in the office has been brilliant for meeting in person again. But that means more time gettingContinue reading “Spring into Writing 2022: join us on retreat!”

Rhetoric for Writers

Facilitating writing retreats is a bit like being a yoga teacher. I was remembered this at my last retreat. At the end of our first day, one participant said “I feel tired, but in a good way, like after a great yoga class.” Which is all you could hope for. But Like yoga teachers, writingContinue reading “Rhetoric for Writers”

When to stop writing

Inspirational unlock-your-inner-novelist books, beware! Here’s a Nobelist to tell you like it is. To be fair to Szymborska, she’s not a grand old man of literature who looks down her nose. And when she was writing the letters published in this book, she did mention the Nobel, but not because she’d won it yet. BecauseContinue reading “When to stop writing”

Writing in a Winter Wonderland 2022

In January 2020, we wrote together in a winter wonderland and it was wonderful. At the Writers’ House in Jyväskylä, the snow started falling just as we finished writing. I knew we’d do it again soon… Two years on, we have come to value our time together in person even more. It is precious, whenContinue reading “Writing in a Winter Wonderland 2022”