The Ukrainian translator is a resident in Banská Štiavnica from May 16th through June 15th.
Iryna Pushkar is translating the books Matky a kamionisti / Mothers and Lorry Drivers by Ivana Dobrakovová and Telesná výchova / Physical Education by Martin M. Šimečka. In 2020, two of her translations came out in Ukrainian: Medzi Slovákmi / Among the Slovaks (Martin M. Šimečka) and Milo nemilo (Milo Janáč). She has also brought interviews with Slovak authors and excerpts from Slovak literature to Ukrainian readers. These can be found in the journal VSESVIT or on the portal Ukrajina-Slovensko.
Iryna Pushkar will introduce herself together with Martin Šimečka in Banská Štiavnica, at a public discussion organized by the Trojica AIR residency. We will bring further information and details about the event soon.
Meanwhile, here is a short interview with Iryna.
Why did you choose to translate Dobrakovová's Matky a kamionisti and Šimečka's Telesná výchova? How can these particular titles be interesting to Ukrainian readers?
I have been introduced to the work of Ivana Dobrakovová in 2011, when I first visited Bratislava and bought her book Prvá smrť v rodine / First Death in the Family. I've been a fan of her work since. I cross my fingers that her book comes out in Ukraine and that Ukrainian readers have the chance to get acquainted with a unique Slovak fiction writer who writes about obsessions, anxieties and social exclusion, about deficit and existential emptiness. Most importantly, Ivana Dobrakovová presents the theme of anti-motherhood and disturbs the stereotype of the ideal mother.
I have gotten to know Martin M. Šimečka's writing thanks to Peter Balko, who gave me the book Literatúra bodka.sk at The International Book Arsenal in Kyiv – it featured Šimečka's esay Otec / Father. My fascination with the author's work began as I was reading the essay. I enjoy translating his books.
Martin M. Šimečka is one of Slovakia's most famous authors; aside from that, Ukrainian readers already know his book Medzi slovakmi / Among the Slovaks. The book Telesná výchova / Physical Education could be interesting for the Ukrainians, because its subject is fashionable and popular: physical education and its influence on the body, mind and soul. The author also offers interesting facts from his own life, as well as extraordinary examples from the fields of philosophy and sports.
As you are working on these translations, what are the most challenging issues? Do you communicate with the authors when you have questions about the text?
Regardless of the book I'm translating, the biggest challenge for me is Slovak slang, dialect and Hungarian words. I always communicate with authors when I'm translating their books. Even the best translator does not know everything.
Does the residency suit your work? Are you able to concentrate better?
To work in such quietude in such an interesting town amidst beautiful mountains is probably every translator's dream. When you don't need to pay attention to house work, children and relatives. When the whole day belongs to you and your work – yes, it's the ideal place that allows mi to concentrate on my work. I am very grateful to LIC and to the town of Banská Štiavnica for the opportunity to work surrounded by such beauty!
What else are you working on these days?
I have already selected certain Slovak books that I would like to translate into Ukrainian, but I won't name them before I have an agreement with a publisher. I can only hint at the genre: it's gonna be crime or horror. I am also interested in science fiction for children and young adults.