Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tiffany Tsao

Tiffany Tsao is a writer and literary translator. She is the author of the novel The Majesties (originally published in Australia as Under Your Wings) and the Oddfits fantasy series.

Her translations from Indonesian to English include Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s poetry collection Sergius Seeks Bacchus, Dee Lestari’s novel Paper Boats, and Laksmi Pamuntjak’s The Birdwoman’s Palate. Her translations of Norman’s poetry have won the English PEN Presents and English PEN Translates awards.

Born in the United States and of Chinese-Indonesian descent, her family returned to Southeast Asia when she was 3 years old. She spent her formative years in Singapore (8 years) and Indonesia (6 years) before moving to the US for university. She has a B.A. in English literature from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in English literature from UC-Berkeley. She now lives in Sydney, Australia with her spouse and two children.

Recently I asked Tsao about what she was reading. Her reply:
I read Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay’s novel Abandon over Christmas. It was one of the most tragic and disturbing stories I’ve read in a long time. The book defies so many of the clich├ęs and expectations about how we think mothers should act and behave. And it exposes the unrealistic burdens that are imposed on mothers even when they are deprived of any genuine compassion or aid. What the protagonist’s son, Roo, suffers as a result is especially heartbreaking and unsettling to the core. As a literary translator, I was incredibly impressed by Arunava Sinha’s rendering of the prose and lines of poetry from the original Bengali. I would highly recommend reading this if you want something off the beaten anglophone path.
Visit Tiffany Tsao's website.

--Marshal Zeringue