Translator shares Japanese literature with world

Translator shares Japanese literature with world

Former Millicent resident Alison Watts has won a prestigious international literary prize which carries a purse of almost $6000.

The inaugural Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Prize was awarded to Ms Watts for her ‘beautifully sad’ translation from Japanese of The Boy and the Dog by Seishu Hase.

In the novel, a dog travels across Japan, bringing healing moments into the desperate lives of a series of temporary owners.

Commenting on the winning translation, judge Nozomi Abe said “Everyone, please read this English translation and keep a handkerchief nearby”.

“The biggest challenge translating a great page-turner such as this book would be to maintain the energy, momentum and cultural charms in order to keep the readers intrigued,” she said.

“This English translation succeeded across the board.

“Some elements are so beautifully sad that we may freely shed a tear or two.”

It is a new annual award for translations into English of full-length Japanese language works of literary merit and general interest.

The were five books short-listed for the award and Ms Watts had a further book in contention.

The prizes were presented at a recent gala ceremony at the British Museum in London and Ms Watts was there in person.

Ms Watts was pleased to win the award.

“At a time when the publication of titles translated from Japanese is flourishing more than ever, this prize is a welcome recognition of the diversity of Japanese literature, and the translators working across a broad range of genres who strive to bring high-quality translations to the English-speaking 
world,” she said.

Born in Millicent (where her parents Robin and Judy still live), Ms Watts went to Millicent North Primary school before winning a scholarship to Walford Church of England Girls Grammar School in 

She gained her Arts degree at the University of Adelaide and a Diploma of Education from Flinders University and then taught for several years.

Her world view took her to Japan in 1988 where she married and raised a family.

She worked as a freelance commercial translator from 1994 to 2015.

In 2003, she secured a Master of Arts in Advanced Japanese Studies with the University of Sheffield.

She turned to freelance literary translation full time in 2016 and returned to live in Adelaide last year.

Why wait? Get more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox
Join our digital edition mailing list and stay up to date on the latest news, events and special announcements from across the Limestone Coast.

Your local real estate guide - every Thursday


You might also like