The Society of Authors has awarded the Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation from French to Aneesa Abbas Higgins for her translation from the original French for A Girl Called Eel by Ali Zamir.
Originally titled Anguille Sous Roche, A Girl Called Eel tells the story of 17-year-old Anguille, who leaves her rock on the archipelago of Comoros only to lose herself at sea. She is confronted with the pressing immediacy of imminent death, Anguille recounts the story of her whole life in one long, sustained breath, in a series of brief couplets.
The judges commented that ‘Aneesa Abbas Higgins’s outstanding translation artfully captures the syntactical complexity of this timely novel. It is a vibrant translation conveying the musicality and originality of the original.’
The novel was published in 2019 after being acquired by Jacaranda 2017. Editor Valerie Brandes said the decision behind acquiring the rights wasn’t only the beautiful and impactful story but the community it is based on. Located on the southeastern side of the African continent, the Comoros Islands was colonised by the French however, its literary works rarely make it to the European continent and A Girl Called Eel is one of the very few, if any, that have been translated into English.
Jacaranda is extremely proud that Ali Zamir’s beautiful novel has been able to be brought to a wider audience through Aneesa’s captivating translation and that her work has been recognised in this award.
You can order A Girl Called Eel from your local bookshop, online and through Jacaranda Books Online.