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Writing in residency

One month at the Château de Lavigny

Luciana Cisbani

© Luciana Cisbani

Luciana Cisbani translates from French to Italian. She is a teacher of translation at Milan’s Civica Scuola Interpreti-Traduttori, of Italian as a second language at Milano-Bicocca University and a tutor in the specialized literary translation programme at the University of Lausanne. The authors whose works she has translated include Sophie Calle, Catherine Cusset, Didier Daeninckx, Anna Gavalda, Victor Hugo, Léo Malet, Alain Minc, Hugues Pagan, Philippe Rahmy, Georges Simenon and Wladimir Weidlé. Currently, she is translating three novels by Pascale Kramer, to be published by «Tunué».

In summer 2019, Luciana Cisbani spent a month at the Château de Lavigny and devoted herself to translating texts by Pascale Kramer. The international residence in Canton Vaud was set up by Jane Rowohlt in memory of her husband, the German publisher Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt. In her former home – Château de Lavigny, built in 1770 with a view of Lake Geneva – she created a residence for writers and translators to promote the spirit of international community and creativity. For two years, Pro Helvetia has been awarding a one-month stipend to Swiss translators of Swiss literature. In the following report Luciana Cisbani describes her impressions and experiences.

Excerpt: «Paradise for happy (very happy) few»

(…) I did not know that the pale pink wallpaper featuring birds and roses chosen by Jane – the generous wife of Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt, bless her heart – would make my stay in the Nabokov room one of intense and at the same time dreamy concentration. And Nabokov, who had slept there, knew very well how to evoke a dreamy tenderness…

Nor did I know that my work on the daily nine pages of revision (ah, the unbearable slowness of translation…) would find a light-hearted stimulus in my leisurely bike rides to the lake or long walks in the vineyards, passing sunflowers and cooling streams. And nature knows how to air a heavy head filled to the brim with the din of words… (…)

The full text by Luciana Cisbani in Italian as PDF