Sika Fakambi writes translations to remain in-between. She grew up between Ouidah and Cotonou, in-between languages. Throughout her studies of literature and languages, she spent considerable time leaving places and moving on to others. After committing herself to translation – translating looking up – she completed studies in book publishing in order to affirm that both translating and publishing partake to the same desire to follow the texts and authors, ‘carrying them along’ to the reader. Early translation work took interest in authors from Australia and West Africa, and poets from America and the Caribbean. Among these authors: Gail Jones, Andrew Zawacki, Kamau Brathwaite, Laura Solomon, and Nii Ayikwei Parkes. In 2014, she was awarded the Baudelaire Prize for translation from the Société des gens de lettres, receiving in the same year the Laure Bataillon Prize for Best Translated Work. In 2017, she created the corp/us collection, releasing among other titles the translation of Warsan Shire’s first collection of poems, and works by Kofi Awoonor and Maud Sulter.
I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t | Translating Sonia Sanchez’s dramatic works
Sonia Sanchez’s work, multifaceted and characterized by an untiring creative and political commitment, is a compelling one. The idea is to recreate the poetics of these plays in modern-day French by finding their voices, their rhythms, and seizing the “gesture” of their language — variations in the voicing of stage directions, characterization of dialogue voices, speech movement, inflexions and registers, rhythm and mouthability — all the elements constitutive of the spoken text’s poetics/politics, to be inscribed within the body on stage. Giving ear, lending voice, may strike as two essential aspects of stage writing, and may also be at the core of a translation vocation.