Cover reveal for Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night!

We are delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover of our upcoming Eagle Books release, Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night, by acclaimed author Simon Higgins, which will be released in March. This fabulous adventure novel, set in 16th century Japan, has a fabulous cover to match, as you can see! The illustrator is the very talented Jenny(Yuxiao) Wang, who as well as being a wonderful artist, is the CEO of Crane Animation in China–and also happens to be Simon’s wife! Design is by Authors’ Elves.

Below you can see the front cover, as well as the full cover, front and back.

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Two excellent reviews for The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock

The reviews for Stephen Hart’s fabulous novel, just published this month with Eagle Books, have started coming in, and they’re excellent!

Here’s a short extract from a review at Kids’ Book Review:

There are many sub-stories built into a storyline that keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end. Terrific characters, tension, and well-paced progress, added to lots of unexpected turn-offs through the plot, kept me longing to know what the outcome will be. Then came the completely unexpected ending!

And here is a short extract from a review at Read Plus:

Themes such as friendship, family dynamics and mystery are delved into. There are lots of smaller story lines that are interwoven in the story and it is intriguing to try and match them all together. It certainly kept me turning the pages. I would recommend this book for children 11 and up as some of the storyline can be quite complex. A welcome addition to the collection.

Read the reviews in full at the links above.

Gripping debut novel to be published next year by Eagle Books

We are delighted to announce that our next Eagle Books title will be The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock, the fabulous debut novel of talented new writer Stephen Hart. The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock will be published in May 2018, with beautiful cover and internal illustrations by Kathy Creamer.

About the book:

After 12-year-old Megan Evans almost dies, she is packed off to the tiny, remote coastal village of Pelican Rock to recover. Sure she is going to be bored in a place which doesn’t even have the internet, she discovers there is much more to Pelican Rock that she expected. Are the pelicans really magic? What is the secret of the ruined lighthouse? Has she found the place where she belongs? And, perhaps, not just a place…

This first novel by talented new writer Stephen Hart is a magical, moving, memorable story that will grip readers from the start.

A joy to read: the kind of story that made me want to be a writer. (Cassandra Golds)

About the author:

Stephen Hart was born in Singapore to English parents, and emigrated from England with his family when he was seven.

Stephen has a PhD in archaeology and spent several years in Jordan running archaeological digs. He is still regarded as one of the world experts on Edomite pottery.

He moved from archaeology to computer programming and has worked in computer gaming, embroidery machines and racecourse totes. He now works for a major Australian telco.

He is an accomplished jazz musician (sax and piano). He is married to Australian author Pamela Freeman and they live with their son in Sydney’s inner west.

The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock is Stephen’s first children’s book.

About the illustrator:

Kathy Creamer is an illustrator and writer whose work has appeared in numerous books, in Australia and overseas. Most recently, she has illustrated the new edition of Max Fatchen’s A Pocketful of Rhymes(Second Look, 2017) and her work has also appeared in the anthologies A Toy Christmas(Christmas Press, 2016) and A Christmas Menagerie(2017). Her picture book with author Sophie Masson, See Monkey, is to be published by Little Pink Dog Books in 2018.

Originally from the UK, Kathy now lives in northern NSW with her husband. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and a Master of Arts in children’s illustration.  Under the name of Kate Amesbury, she also writes for adults and has had short stories published in several anthologies as well as other writings being awarded high commendations in  the Ada Cambridge Prize for Biographical Prose.

http://www.kathycreamer.com

 

 

We are sponsors of the 2017 HNSA Short Story Contest

historical-novel-society-ustraliaEagle Books is delighted to announce that we are co-sponsors of the 2017 Short Story Contest of the Historical Novel Society Australasia. Run in conjunction with HNSA’s 2017 Conference, to be held in Melbourne in September, the contest is open to all conference delegates, and will be judged by Sandra Gulland, author of The Shadow Queen and Mistress of the Sun. 

The winner will be awarded:

The second and third placed entrants will each receive certificates. With the author’s consent, the winning, second place and third place stories will be published by Backstory (both online and print on demand) after the conference.  http://www.backstoryjournal.com.au

The short list and prize-winning entry will be announced at the HNSA 2017 Conference Dinner.

More details and to enter here.

Announcing the new Eagle Books title for 2017!

Eagle Books logoEagle Books is delighted to announce our new title for 2017!

Jack of Spades

by Sophie Masson

Landing in all good bookshops in April 2017. 

Nobody weaves history, romance and adventure like Sophie Masson
Anthony Horowitz

 

May 1910…

Linda’s father is missing in Paris, and her only clue is the Jack of Spades card that was sent to their home in London. In the family code, ‘Jack of Spades’ means danger. But it is not her father’s handwriting on the envelope!

Setting out to look for him, Linda is soon whirled into a frightening world where nothing is as it seems. Who are the people following her? What was her father really doing in Paris? Who can she really trust? As she works against time to try and solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance with the help of some new friends, Linda begins to realise that she has stumbled into a dark and dangerous conspiracy which threatens the future of the whole world…

A gripping, original thriller for older readers by award-winning author Sophie Masson.

 With cover and internal illustrations by Yvonne Low(coming soon!)

ISBN: 9780994528001

Paperback

Age range: 10-14

RRP: $19.99

Subscribe to our mailing list on www.eaglebooksadventure.com to be updated on all details, cover reveals etc!

About the author:

Born in Indonesia to French parents and brought up in Australia and France, Sophie Masson is the award-winning and internationally-published author of over 60 books, for children, young adults and adults.

Author Sophie Masson

Author site: www.sophiemasson.org

Blog: www.firebirdfeathers.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SophieMassonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiemasson1

Subscribe to our mailing list on http://www.eaglebooksadventure.com for news and announcements!

Come celebrate Mikhail Strogoff in Melbourne!

eildon-mansionTo all our Victorian friends and supporters: there’s still time to book for our wonderful celebratory event in Melbourne for Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff! The date is  Tuesday November 8, starting at 6.30 pm, the venue is the St Kilda branch of the Alliance Francaise de Melbourne, which is housed in a gorgeous old mansion at 51 Grey St, St Kilda–a perfect setting! Translator Stephanie Smee will be giving a talk, publisher Sophie Masson will be introducing the book, and Michel Richard of the Alliance Francaise will be welcoming everyone. And there’ll also be a special presentation from a bilingual Russian/English reader, Dr Anna Popova, whose first introduction to this Russian-set novel of Verne’s was through Stephanie’s sparkling translation. There will be copies of the book for sale–and remember, signed copies make a wonderful, unique gift!

The event is free, but you can book here.  Hope to see you there!

mikhail strogoff finished 1 front cover

 

Another great review for Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff!

We’ve just been sent a great new review of Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff, which will be appearing in Vol 60 of the prestigious journal, The French Australian Review.  Written by Dr Patricia Clancy, a highly respected academic, French literature expert and professional translator, the review is not available online(though you can purchase copies of the issue in which it appears) but below is a short extract from it.

Stephanie Smee has given us the first new translation of this novel for a century. The first two were heavy, wordy and very nineteenth-century, which did not do justice to Verne’s much more vivid and lively style. While retaining the generally more formal tone of a historical novel, Smee has smartened the pace by cleverly incorporating footnotes into the text and choosing a simpler, more evocative vocabulary.

 The book itself is a delight to read and to look at. Its relatively small format is also very comfortable to hold. My review copy is one of a limited edition of 750, which has been released well before general commercial publication. It is a handsome hard-cover that looks like a nineteenth-century book with gold foil lettering and embellishments on the cover. Inside there are pages of quality cream paper, a coloured map of Mikhail’s journey as endpapers and a satin ribbon bookmark—all in all, a fine gift for any lover of novels of high adventure.

Fabulous review of Mikhail Strogoff in Reading Time

A fabulous review of Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff has appeared in Reading Time, the highly respected journal of the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Here’s a short extract:

In this beautiful translation by Stephanie Smee, the first in English in more than 100 years, a new generation of readers will enjoy the magnificent story-telling talent of Verne that has captivated fans the world over.

Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff is the first release for Eagle Books, an imprint of Christmas Press. Only 750 copies are available in a limited edition with gold-edged pages. Illustrations are by David Allan and include a delightful colour image inlaid on the front cover. Lovers of fine literature will appreciate the investment (RRP $55) as a special gift, or as an addition to the family bookshelves to be treasured by future generations.

You can read the whole review here.

 

An interview with Stephanie Smee

WP_20150524_022It’s publication day today for our beautiful launch title, Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff! We are so happy to see it out there in the world, and to know it’s already been taken to so many readers’ hearts!

To mark this fantastic day, let’s hear from the brilliant Stephanie Smee, who spoke to us in a great and wide-ranging interview.

Translating Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff was a massive and painstaking undertaking. How did you prepare for it initially?
Like many Anglophone readers, I was really only familiar with those books of Jules Verne that have always been popular with English readers… Around the World in Eighty Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and I confess it had been many years since I had read those tales.
So, when discussing with Sophie Masson possible ideas to pitch to English language publishers, her enthusiasm for this historical adventure tale took me a little unawares. However, after getting my hands on an original French edition, and spending some considerable time researching, I realised how enduringly popular Michel Strogoff has been with its French readers. And I became increasingly nonplussed as to how it had slipped from the catalogue of Verne’s other, perennially popular tales which had been translated into English.
How does one prepare for a translation task such as this? A number of readings of the text, of course, which serves to allow your mind to “relax” into the rhythm of the text, but then the close readings are required, and the true breadth of Verne’s rich vocabulary and sentence structure sinks in. At that point, there’s nothing for it but to “dive in”! mikhail strogoff finished 1 front cover
What challenges came up for you as you worked on the book?
 
Verne’s vocabulary is encyclopaedic, and one can almost sense the glee with which he displays his research into the historical, geographical and cultural specificities of his setting. I was very fortunate to have been given some magnificent 19th century French/French and French/English dictionaries by my father-in-law, Jim Schoff, and there is no doubt these proved very useful in grappling with some of the more obscure terms that came up from time to time. I also found some of the 19th century maps of Russia, Siberia and “Independent Tartary” (again, supplied by my father-in-law) absolutely invaluable. One editorial challenge, with which Sophie Masson at Eagle Books was very helpful, was determining the appropriate transliteration of place names. Of course, Verne had transliterated place names from the Russian cyrillic into 19th century French. We then had to settle upon the appropriate way of spelling all of these names for our 21st century Anglophone readership while remaining authentic to the historical setting of the novel. As readers will be aware, customs surrounding the spelling of Russian names can be a moveable feast and often differ from one current newspaper or novel to another, depending on the editorial decisions made. The historical maps I had at my disposal were certainly useful, but again, it was customary in the 19th century for many mapmakers to use French spelling of Russian place names, as it was assumed that educated readers and scholars would have French at their fingertips and unfortunately, we can’t make such assumptions for our readership anymore! 
 
I did often wonder how translators used to manage before the internet allowed us access to so many superb resources, including to such things as 19th century accounts of travellers making their way through the same or similar parts of the world as our hero, Mikhail Strogoff! Images of Tartar battle dress or Siberian towns which I was able to access through Google books often allowed me to create a mental picture of the word-image I was trying to paint with my translation of Verne’s detailed text.
Strogoff 5Verne’s narrative is quite straightforward but his style is richly laced with idiomatic and other flourishes. How did you capture that very particular spirit?
 
The longevity of Verne’s popularity, in my opinion, derives from his masterful skills as a storyteller. His tales are built on a driving narrative force that reveals itself to the reader – and thus, to the translator – as we turn the pages. Verne is a great “scene-setter”. And so, he interlaces his chapters with scene-setting descriptions, often packed with information, followed by “lighter” chapters of spirited dialogue. There is nothing staid about his evocative descriptions. Rather, he successfully evokes a landscape which will then be the setting for the following dialogue between his characters, all of whom are very brightly drawn, from the main protagonists, Mikhail Strogoff and Nadia, to the testymuzhik responsible for leading them across the Urals, and to the jocular journalists who act as the entertaining Greek chorus to events as they unfold. All of this to say that the translator’s task really has to be to imagine herself into the landscape, listen to the rhythm of the descriptions and the dialogue and try to render that same rhythm into English. Where there is a particular urgency to the events unfolding on the page, I’d like to think that a good translator will be able to reflect that same urgency – whether it’s as simple as adhering to similar sentence length, or perhaps through a choice of words that will help make the narrative pop and crackle with that same sense of urgency. Of course, 19th century literature often uses tenses  and moods that are rarely employed in modern literature and ideally, those grammatical nuances will be reflected in the English too, although there is a fine line to be drawn sometimes when translating tenses which would perhaps seem “clunky” or awkward to a modern reader’s ear. As for the dialogue, there is no doubt Verne’s own skill in drawing his characters rendered it a joy to translate their dialogue as it meant I had little difficulty imagining myself into their conversations and under their skins.
At this point, I should also underline my gratitude, not only to my editor and publisher, Sophie Masson, but also to my father, Michael Smee, whose assistance in proof-reading – offering second and third pairs of eyes and ears to “hear” the rhythm of the text – were quite invaluable.
How different was it working on this translation as opposed to those you have worked on before, such as the Countess de Segur’s classic children’s books?
 
The translation of Mikhail Strogoff was indeed quite an undertaking, and in this respect, it really felt quite different to sitting down to translate the Countess de Ségur’s books, which although quite lengthy for their genre, have a considerably younger target audience to that of Strogoff. (That said, I just received a very enthusiastic message from my 11 year old nephew telling me how much he loved this latest translation, but that while he had been waiting for his copy to arrive in Boston, he had eagerly revisited all of my translations of the Countess’s books, so there is obviously a little bit of audience cross-over!) In attacking a work like Strogoff, there is a different level of stamina required both in respect of the novel‘slength and the complexity of its vocabulary. Julie Rose’s masterful translation of Les Misérables of course takes that degree of difficulty to a different place altogether! Verne and the Countess de Ségur did at least share some similarities of the epoch in which they were written, being works penned in the 19th century.
Russian-French writer Andrei Makine, in one of his novels, Le Testament Francais, has his narrator say ‘the translator of poetry is the poet’s rival; the translator of prose is the novelist’s slave.’ What is your opinion? Do you have a philosophy of translation? 
 
I can quite understand narrator’s standpoint in Makine’s novel. It suggests a degree of “freedom” that perhaps a translator of poetry might enjoy, compared to the prose translator. But I’m not sure I agree entirely.
While the quote from Makine acknowledges the “originality” of the poet/translator’s new work, I disagree with the suggestion that the translator of prose is in any way more the novelist’s slave, to use that same imagery.  The rules relating to the translation of the ‘form work’ and ‘scaffolding’ of prose might be different to that of a work of poetry but at the end of the day, translators of prose and poetry are both working creatively and originally, both limited by a desire to remain as faithful as possible, not only to the original text, but to its emotion and rhythm. In many ways, as illuminated by the comments below of John Edmunds, renowned translator of the verse-dramas of the likes of Racine and Corneille, translators of poetry might feel more “enslaved” by the need to adhere to the particular poetic structure and rhythm of the original work.
As a translator, I stand most in awe of those who translate poetry but are they the original poet’s “rival”? A good translator of poetry is truly not just any ordinary linguist – they must hear the poetic rhythm in the source language and be able to recreate that beauty, that mystery, that imagery in the target language. It requires decisions about meters, rhyming – whether it is best to try to retain those rhythms in the target translation or stray a little from the source language in order to recreate a rhythm that somehow best captures the original imagery and magic of the poetry.
I recently read John Edmunds’ notes on his extraordinary translations of the plays of Corneille, Racine and Molière (Penguin Classics, 2013). They are illuminating, and in fact suggest that the translator of these “verse-dramas” are, in a way, just as much these play-wright/poet’s slave as their rival. He says:
A translation intended for performance not only must be immediately intelligible to the listening ear, but ideally, I have always thought, should be capable of delivery by a putative bilingual cast in precisely the same way in either version. Like musical scores these verse-dramas have their crescendos, staccatos and rallentandos: in the new medium they need to be preserved. This can be achieved only by maintaining the sentence-structure so that the actor’s breathing-pattern is reproduced, because the pulsation of the performer’s vocal energy is the life of the play. And, clearly, the action has to flow at the same pace as the original. This necessitates a line-by-line rendering.
 
A play written in verse is truly recreated in another language only when it has the formality of disciplined verse-structure. Which form to employ?
 
And Edmunds then goes on to discuss his choice of Shakespearian blank verse “which has a driving impetus and the rhythm of colloquial speech” over the English alexandrine which, he suggests, is “too stately for drama; and the rhythmic beat of our heavily stressed language does not need rhyme to create form.” He also comments that rhyming couplets can sound jokey, at least to British theatre goers “reared on pantomime.” Ultimately, he says, the translator can only do his best with the tools available to him in his own language in reverence to the “supremely gifted authors” one has the privilege of translating.
My own “philosophy” of translating? Many scholars and practitioners have penned many thoughts on this topic and I’m not sure I should be so bold as to add my own. I do know, like John Edmunds, that I feel an enormous sense of privilege to be working as a literary translator, particularly translating the work of a literary figure such as Jules Verne. And even though I am not a translator of poetry, I also know that beautiful prose, too, has its own rhythm, its own fluidity, its own internal mysteries which any good translator must try to encompass in their work. So, if a translator can recreate that original sense of wonder and excitement generated by any good piece of literature, whether it be a work for children or the most fiendishly obscure piece of poetry, then perhaps the translator has succeeded in her task.
 
It’s been said that there aren’t enough novels from non-anglophone countries translated into English. Would you agree? And why do you think that is? 
 
Yes, indeed I do agree – as both an avid reader of translated literature and as a literary translator! Although I hasten to add that I have been very, very fortunate to have a number of my translations published beautifully by both Simon & Schuster (Aust) and of course, Eagle Books. That said, Linda Jaivin, in her essay Found in Translation published in the Quarterly Essay (issue #52, 2013), referred to statistics that are enough to make any literary translator cry.
 “[H]alf of all books available in translation around the world have been translated from English, and only 6 percent are translated into English. The rest are translations between non-English languages… In 1950, American publishers produced 11,022 books, of which 563 were translations. In 2010, the number of books published there climbed past 200,000, but only 341 were originally in other languages. … In 2012, according to Bloomberg, American publishers bought translation rights to only 453 foreign titles; figures in the UK are said to be similar.”
And, she goes on to say, there is no reason to believe the situation is any better in Australia – in fact, she says, it’s probably more dire.
Why is this the case? There are many reasons, but most of them come down to the fact that English has become the “default” language of the world. And at the same time as the rest of the world has adopted an educational approach that emphasises the need to learn English, largely for trade reasons, the number of people who still learn foreign languages in English speaking countries is plummeting. This can only lead to serious cultural insularity and, while learning a foreign language is not an easy task, as Jaivin acknowledges, “a sensible corrective is access to a rich body of global literature in translation.” Yet we are failing on that front, too. Monolingual publishers/editors make it difficult for foreign language publishers to sell their works into the English language market, as they are forced to rely on potted descriptions, quickly translated excerpts, and, only if they’re lucky, some healthy sales figures or reviews in the original language market. The same difficulties confront literary translators trying to pitch ideas to Anglophone publishers. Even when books have earned their stripes in sales and reviews in their native market, I have often been met with the response: “translations are very hard to find space for in the market”.
 
Why  they are any harder to find space for than untested English language books is quite mysterious to this literary translator. Sales in Anglophone markets of Pippi Longstocking and Asterix would, I’m sure, rival sales in their own market, due to their very skilled translators and to the fact that they are quite wonderful books! Yet I do know why. In a market where publishers are being forced to tighten their belts, there is little cash to spare to pay for English language publishing rights, as well as a skilled translator. And I can only assume also that sales and marketing teams must know there is an inherent reluctance or suspicion on the part of readers when it comes to foreign literature. Fortunately, at the same time as so many of the large publishing houses are publishing fewer and fewer works in translation, there are increasing numbers of independent publishers, like Eagle Books, who recognise the need to take a stand against the cultural hegemony of the Anglophone publishing industry and who are making it their business to publish works in translation.
Our wonderfully cosmopolitan and plural society deserves no less, particularly if we mean to engage in a meaningful, reciprocal and generous way with the billions of people on this planet for whom English is not their mother tongue. We need to be able to hear everybody’s stories!
What are you looking at translating next? 
 
I’ve in fact embarked on a terribly entertaining translation project with my Swedish mother. We are translating some very well-known (in the Swedish market) children’s stories by Gösta Knutsson about a little cat called Pelle whose tail was bitten off by a rat when he was a kitten. They were first published in Sweden in the late 1930’s-1940’s and Knutsson continued to write for many decades. They’ve been enormously popular in Sweden since they were first published.  The first three in the series are to be published next year by Piccolo Nero, the children’s imprint of Black Inc publishers.
I’m also working on some submissions involving the translation of some modern French novellas and short stories which I’m very excited about. They’re written in very different language to the 19th century text of Jules Verne, but I’m loving the challenge. They’re wry and erudite, fanciful and yet thoroughly modern… works that are very much for and of our time.