Jethro Soutar, writing in The Brittle Paper, reminds us with a breathtaking first sentence why it’s such a privilege that we are able to sit at our computers, type out words and have them shared with anyone who would care to read.
Many of those who came before us didn’t have this type of opportunity. Indeed, many alive today, who would want to be writers, cannot access the tools to enable them to do this.
Soutar writes about how he translated the work of Dina Salústio, Cape Verde’s First Female Novelist.
Salústio’s novel, A Louca de Serrano, was written in Portuguese and originally released in 1998 by Spleen Edições in Praia, Cape Verde.
The English version, which Soutar worked on, was published in 2019 by Dedalus Africa as The Madwoman of Serrano.
Soutar’s essay is titled simply “Translating Dina Salústio, Cape Verde’s First Female Novelist” and the line that first we’re talking about: “When asked if she feels honored to be the first Cape Verdean woman to have written a published novel, Dina Salústio says that she does not: she feels sad and sorry for the women who came before her and couldn’t write one.”
Bamm! In our faces.
Dina Salustio was born on the island of Santo Antao, Cape Verde, in 1941. She has worked as a teacher, social assistant and journalist, in Portugal, Angola & Cape Verde. Her first book, Mornas eram as noites (Warm were the Nights), a collection of short stories, was published in 1994, and subsequently translated into Spanish. A new short story collection, Filhos de Deus (God’s Children), was published in 2018. She has had three novels published, A Louca de Serrano (The Madwoman of Serrano) in 1998 and Filhas do Vento (Daughters of the Wind) in 2009 and Veromar (See-the-Sea) 2019.
Jethro Soutar is a translator of Spanish and Portuguese. He is the general editor of Dedalus Africa. His translation of By Night The Mountain Burns, by Equatorial Guinean author Juan Tomas Avila Laurel, was shortlisted for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. He has translated Argentinian and Brazilian crime fiction, and the Brazilian graphic novel Picture a Favela by Andre Diniz.