Caleb Crain on the Italian Translation of His Novel "Necessary Errors"

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Left to right: Andrea Maccarrone, Federica Aceto and Caleb Crain

Left to right: Andrea Maccarrone, Federica Aceto and Caleb Crain

On Thursday, September 25th the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation in collaboration with the United States Embassy and the LGBT Alliance Club sponsored a reading of Caleb Crain’s debut novel Necessary Errors. The reading was in honor of the Italian translation of the novel, Errori Necessari, published by 66th and 2nd.

Isabella Ferretti, editor at 66th and 2nd, opening the reading by thanking Crain for his novel and his collaboration with Italian translator Federica Aceto, who was also in attendance. Then Crain read a passage from the novel in which Jacob Putnam, the protagonist, goes to his first gay bar in Prague. The novel is based on Crain’s own experiences living abroad in Prague in the early 90s, just after the fall of communism.

Ferritti commented on the passage, “You can appreciate the descriptive taste of the language, and his expert pace.” Then followed a panel discussion between Crain, Ferretti, Aceto and Andrea Maccarrone, Chairman of Rome’s Circolo Mario Mieli.

The panel fielded questions from the audience about the difficulties of translation. Aceto said it was a balancing act between English, Czech and Italian. In the book, the English language is a character in itself because Jacob Putnam is an English teacher. Therefore, the hardest part was deciding what English phrases had to be kept and which could be translated into Italian, which she said felt like an intrusion.

After the panel discussion and audience questions Crain and Aceto signed copies of Errori Necessari, which were being sold outside the Aula Magna.

Learn more about studying English Language and Literature in Rome in Rome at John Cabot University.