Poring over old maps

WP_20150524_022When you’re translating a work such as Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff, which is such an epic journey across so much country, it’s as well as to keep a good grasp of geography, and that’s exactly what Stephanie Smee has been doing. But it’s not just maps per see she has to look at and pore over; it’s actually old maps, for while geography itself might not have changed, political geography has, and the map of the Russian Empire in 1876 looks very different to the map of the Russian Federation today. Here she is with one of those lovely old maps she’s been consulting–and next to that, a copy of the original edition of the book, which she’s been using as her base text.


On the photographic traces of Mikhail Strogoff

WP_20150501_001The epic journey of our hero Mikhail Strogoff has inspired some real-life travellers to follow in his footsteps across the vastness of Russia, recording their journeys in words and pictures. We’re collecting such books at the moment as part of the background and inspiration for our art director’s creative work, and thought you might like a glimpse of two particularly beautiful books about  such journeys: photographer Olivier Sprung’s magnificent illustrated book, Michel Strogoff de Moscou a Irkoutsk(Romain Pages Editions, France) which features extracts from Jules Verne’s novel alongside gorgeous photographs of the various places; and Geo Magazine’s fabulous coffee-table book, Voyage en Russie sur les traces de Michel Strogoff, with text by journalist Remy Michel and beautiful photographs by Olivier Martel. Even if you don’t read French, the books are worth looking at for the sake of the magnificent photographs which illustrate the extraordinary natural, architectural and human diversity and colour of Russia even today.


Travels with the tsar’s courier: places in Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff

Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff isn’t just a fantastic adventure, full of vivid characters and non-stop action: it’s also an extraordinary journey by road and rail and river through a vast stretch of Russia, from Moscow to Irkutsk. And to give you a glimpse of some the places along that journey, here’s a little clip we’ve made for your enjoyment.


David Allan talks about artistic influences for Strogoff illustrations

As we reach the end of the first month of our crowdfunding campaign, here’s an interesting short clip with illustrator and designer for Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff, David Allan, talking a little about some of his artistic influences as he works on the illustrations for the book.

Remember to check out our campaign site, and like our many wonderful contributors, consider joining us in this exciting publishing adventure!


We’re in the Sydney Morning Herald!

Our crowdfunding campaign for Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff has been cited as one of two ‘bookish good causes’ in the Undercover column in the Spectrum section of the Sydney Morning Herald today!

It’s a good sign as to the importance of this major publishing event, the first new English translation in over 100 years of one of the world’s greatest classic adventure novels, by one of the world’s greatest classic writers. And such a wonderful translation too, by the distinguished Stephanie Smee!

You too can be part of this wonderful event, and get your copy of the beautiful limited edition of the book, by contributing to our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Note that this is a flexible campaign so we receive all funds raised, whether or not we meet our target(though obviously we’d love to!) so contributors are guaranteed to get what they pledge for.

Getting Lost in Translation: An Interview with Stephanie Smee


And now for something completely different on the old blog… My brother has a passion for all things linguistics so I am very excited to be able to host an interview with a translator at the InkAshlings blog. Stephanie is currently working as part of the Eagle Books team on translating a Jules Verne adventure novel into English. I interviewed Eagle Books founder and author, Sophie Masson, in March. You can read my interview with Sophie here.

stephanie smee

1. Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into translating books.

I came to translating via a career in the legal world. I read both Law and Arts at Adelaide University, majoring in French language and literature. I then completed an Honours year in French at Sydney University. Languages have always been my first love, I think; I have polyglot parents – a Swedish mother who speaks 5…

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Guest post by Sophie Masson about Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff

Eagle Books’ Sophie Masson has a guest post about Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff, its impact on her as a young reader, and the project generally, at the Great Raven blog.

Here’s a short extract:

I read the novel I don’t know how many times, swept away by the grandeur of the story, the fantastic adventure, with its wolves, bears, mountain storms, bandits, iced-up rivers, cruel torturers and traitors. I thoroughly enjoyed  the funny  rivalry and repartee between Alcide Jolivet and Harry Blount,  I thrilled to the love I could see developing between Nadia and Michel, both equally tough and brave. And I was swept away too by the description of the journey, which starts in Moscow and ends in Siberia — a journey over water, through forest and mountain and cities and villages: you get a real sense of the vastness and amazing diversity, both human and environmental, of Russia.  Basically, it’s a chase novel, and it has the breakneck pace of that, and lots of twists and turns, culminating in an especially unexpected and satisfyingly resolved one. But it is also beautifully written, as tight and clever and witty as Around the World in Eighty Days, and much more passionate and exciting. 

You can read the full post here.