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”

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!”

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!”

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”

How plain is your English?

Clear writing has clear results. And I love helping writers say exactly what they mean so readers can understand. But I was sure I could write better myself. Then I started mentoring someone who specialized in plain English and I wanted to learn more. If you’re interested in it, too, do the CIEP Plain EnglishContinue reading “How plain is your English?”

The Tender Narrator

Czuły narrator is the book Olga Tokarczuk finally had time to write in 2020. When the world slowed down, she could, too (her beautiful picture book The Lost Soul, also illustrated by Joanna Concejo, was ever so prescient about slowing down). Much of her writing in this collection premiered for a different audience, including politicalContinue reading “The Tender Narrator”

Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well

Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well (King Lear, Act 1 scene 4) Shakespeare said it first, but it’s worth saying again and it’s probably every editor’s or reviser’s biggest fear. If revisers are like doctors, aiming to make a text better, should they be bound by the Hippocratic oath – or at leastContinue reading “Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well”

New year, new skill: copywriting

In a “normal” year – remember those? – I would go to Helsinki about once a month and abroad about every other month to meet colleagues and authors. Not doing this has been an enormous loss, professionally but above all personally. But it’s been good for my carbon footprint, and in 2020 I had timeContinue reading “New year, new skill: copywriting”

How to grow your own poem

Don’t run away from that title – stay and see what Kate Clanchy has to say. She absolutely knows her stuff. She’s spent decades teaching people how to get their poems into and out of their imaginations, up to standard and down onto paper. And just because she teaches in high school, which is quiteContinue reading “How to grow your own poem”