Translator up for novel award

A literary translator from Great Fransham has been shortlisted for a national award for her version of a French novel set in the conflict zone.Adriana Hunter translated French writer Val�rie Zenatti's book Une Bouteille dans la Mer de Gaza into the English version Message in a Bottle last March.

A literary translator from Great Fransham has been shortlisted for a national award for her version of a French novel set in the conflict zone.

Adriana Hunter translated French writer Val�rie Zenatti's book Une Bouteille dans la Mer de Gaza into the English version Message in a Bottle last March.

The story follows a 17-year-old Israeli girl who sends a message in a bottle after a suicide bomb attack on her local caf� in Jerusalem, leading to an internet friendship with the young Palestinian man who finds it.

The English-language version has put Mrs Hunter, 45, in the running for the Marsh Award, which celebrates translations of stories for younger readers, with the winner to be announced on January 20.


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Mrs Hunter said the increased profile of the book was a timely reminder of the human cost of the Israeli offensive in Gaza, which claimed more than 1,000 Palestinian lives.

'It is painfully topical,' she said. 'What is great about it is it is not just a great story - it has much wider implications.

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'It is opening up young minds about what it is like to live with war and to think about how they would go about solving a problem like the Gaza strip.

'A lot of youngsters would not even have thought about it. If they read this book now they will have a better understanding about what this awful business in Gaza is all about.

'It doesn't hurt being nominated for awards. Of course it helps, because publishers like that.'

Mrs Hunter has translated almost 40 novels in the last 10 years including Catherine Millet's international bestseller The Sexual Life of Catherine M.

She first learned French when she lived in Switzerland for four years as a child and later studied the language at university.

She said: 'For me, part of the fun is getting the voice and the feel of who is talking. Here we have two voices, the open and optimistic Israeli girl trying to make a change and the cynical Palestinian boy who slowly comes around to having this dialogue.'

Mrs Hunter is married to David Hunter, clerk of the course at Fakenham Racecourse, and lives with their three children Hannah, 16, Max, 14, and Celia, 9. She met the author of the book 18 months ago at a literary festival in France.

'The more the news goes on, the more I think about Val�rie and about what it must mean to her,' she said.

'Her books are massively accessible for a teenage reader as they see themselves in her characters but at the same time the first thing which happens in this book is a suicide bomb goes off at the caf�. It immediately brings to life what is going on out there.'

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