Marina Boroditskaya is a brilliant translator of English and American verse. Poets she has translated include Chaucer (the first Russian translation of his Troilus and Criseyde), Shakespeare, Donne, Burns, Keats and Kipling. Children’s writers she has translated included Hilaire Belloc, Eleanor Farjeon, A. A. Milne, Alan Garner and almost all of Julia Donaldson. She has published at least twenty books of poetry for children and six books of poetry for adults, though she does not see children’s and adult poetry as essentially different, pointing out that ‘they’re made of the same stuff’.
Marina has won prizes for all aspects of her work and, since 1978, has contributed regularly to the most important Russian literary journals. She presents the Russian equivalent of Poetry Please! on Russian radio. Called The Literary Pharmacy, it is inspired by her belief that literature is the best medicine.
Marina herself writes: 'When I perform for children, I sometimes say: "OK, I may look like your favourite aunt, but I'm really a three-headed dragon. I have a poet's head, a translator's head and a children's writer's head. Also, once or twice a month I grow a very special radio-head to prepare and broadcast my 'Literary Pharmacy' on Radio Russia (after which this head disappears till the next month).” They all love the metaphor, even secondary-schoolers. The youngest kids even help me make a clicking sound to "switch off" the adult poet's head or the translator's head "which we won't need right now”… During this talk I shall switch on my "heads" one by one and tell you what each of them does and how they sometimes fight and sometimes cooperate.
Marina joins noted translator Robert Chandler for an evening of discussion and recital. With thanks to the Institute of Translation and the Russian Children's Book Festival.