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'The Shadow Heroes of Literature': Three Translated Fiction Novels by Literary Translator, Anne McLean, whose work features in this year's Hay Festival of Literature

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Hay Festival of Literature in Wales. As a celebration of this milestone, the festival is honouring a selection of thirty texts from the last thirty years across fiction and non-fiction. 

Amongst the chosen titles is, 'Oblivion: A Memoir', written by Colombian novelist, Héctor Abad, and translated by award-winning literary translator, Anne McLean. Here are three more texts that the esteemed translator has worked on. 

The Sound of Things Falling

Written by one of Colombia’s leading writers, this tension-filled psychological drama is a fictional exploration of the country’s history of drug-related violence. Narrated by law professor, Antonio Yammara, the novel moves between its setting in Bogota in the nineties, at the height of the drug wars, and the past, when the drugs trade infiltrated everyone’s lives. Antonio is trying to keep his wife and daughter safe but he is obsessed with the past and desperate to find out more about a shooting he witnessed. A gripping read from one of Colombia's most celebrated talents.

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Recipes for Sad Women

Not a novel and not a cookbook, this unique and playful text offers enlightenment of the mind through a mix of ‘recipes’ (dinosaur meat anyone?) and spells. With recommendations for preventing guilt, promoting laughter and even erasing memories of past love affairs, Abad’s sensual and quirky text examines the gap between heart and mind and is laced with nuggets of wisdom. A fun and insightful read. 

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Never Any End to Paris

With its title taken from the final chapter of Ernest Hemingway's 'A Moveable Feast' (a work that inspired Vila-Matas to move to Paris to become a writer), this autobiographical fiction explores the challenges and difficulties of the unknown writer striving for success. The text is presented in the form of a lecture and explores the validity of truth over reality, themes of art and literature and many other riddling musings that ensure an engaging read. 

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Copywriter and journalist. Also a running enthusiast and tree-hugger.

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