Meet the Translator: J. Weintraub

Stories We Tell After Midnight 2, our third full-length anthology, is the first time I’ve accepted a work in translation. Working with J. Weintraub to accept and publish Nicola Lombardi’s short story was a pleasure I hope to repeat in the future! In the meantime, read on to learn more.

Q (Crone Girls Press): What do you write? How long have you been writing? What are your preferred genres and why?

A (J. Weintraub): I’ve been writing for 50 years in all genres and forms, although I’m currently concentrating on shorter forms–stories and plays–since I’ve had more success in having them placed/produced. I also find translation particularly satisfying.

Q: What draws you to the genre of horror/dark fiction?

A: I’ve always felt that horror done well can have a profound effect on the reader, both immediate and deep, up to the point of invading his/her dreams.

Q: Why horror? What about the genre appeals to you?

A: As a translator I like the more aggressive narrative flow of much of horror fiction and the use of vocabulary to create dark and sinister effects.

Q: What do you find the most challenging about the writing process, and how do you meet that challenge?

A: Dealing with the blank page, and for that reason I’ve been attracted to translation, which has more in common with the revision process (which I like) than the fabrication process (which I fear).

Q: What was the worst writing advice you ever received? The best writing advice? Why, and how did it affect your writing?

A: I’ve always liked the following from Mark Twain, which I find particularly appropriate for translation: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ‘Tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

Q: If someone asked you to recommend books/stories similar to what you write, who/what titles would you be giving them?

A: Although my own writing comes in a variety of modes and styles, I often fall back on dark comedy and irony. I’m thinking of Saki right now.

Q: What’s next in your journey?

A: Right now I’m in the middle of translating Nicola Lombardi’s novel “I Ragni Zingari” (“The Gypsy Spiders”), which I hope will see the light of day next year. But, to give you an idea of the variety of my work, I’m also preparing for publication an adaptation of the dramatist Carlo Goldoni’s “Villeggiatura” trilogy, first produced in 1761.

J. Weintraub

A member of the Dramatists Guild, J. Weintraub has had one-act plays and staged readings produced throughout the world. He has published fiction, essays, and poetry in all sorts of literary places, from The Massachusetts Review to New Criterion, from Prairie Schooner to Modern Philology. As a translator he has introduced the Italian horror writer Nicola Lombardi to the English speaking-public and his annotated translation of Eugène Briffault’s Paris à table: 1846 was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. More at https://jweintraub.weebly.com/.

To read J. Weintraub’s translation of Nicola Lombardi’s “Bedtime Tales,” pick up a copy of Stories We Tell After Midnight 2. And, once you are finished, please think about leaving us a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews make our cold, dark little heart so happy…

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