Marie-Pierre Fiquet - Translator of the Month for January

Marie-Pierre Fiquet is from France and translates Norwegian fiction into French.
She has translated Karl Ove Knausgård’s My Struggle series, as well as novels by Matias Faldbakken. Marie-Pierre has a university degree in German, Norwegian and French and has been living in Norway since 1983.

Before Marie-Pierre began to translate novels, she worked as a teacher at the French School in Oslo for many years. She is also a member of the Norwegian Association of Literary Translators.

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Marie-Pierre Fiquet. Photo: Private.

What is the best thing about being a translator?

Before becoming a translator, I was once asked what I wanted to be if I wasn’t working as a teacher. My answer was: author. The best thing about being a translator is to be able to write, play with language and find a style, without having to make up a story – the plot is already done for you and served on a silver platter!

It is also a privilege to be able to enjoy a different language and share it with others, and to contribute to a better understanding of the world.

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Marie-Pierre's translation of Karl Ove Knausgård's "My Struggle: Book 5 – Some Rain Must Fall", with Post-it notes showing the last changes she saw before it was published.
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Marie-Pierre with her translation of Knausgård's "My Struggle: Book 2 – A Man in Love", on a rooftop in Paris.

Is there a specific Norwegian title you hold close to your heart? If so, why is it special to you?

It is hard to choose only one, but I’d like to highlight The Naked Madonna by Jan Wiese (original title: Kvinnen som kledde seg naken for sin elskede). I read it 30 years ago and still remember the unique atmosphere in the book, created by the language. I really liked being in it.

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"The Naked Madonna" (original title: "Kvinnen som kledte seg naken for sin elskede") by Jan Wiese. The novel was published in 1990 and sold in countless editions and it is, according to Wiese's literary agent, still being discovered by new readers who claim that "it's the best book I have ever read". Here are the covers of both an English and a Norwegian edition.

Read more

Learn more about Marie-Pierre on Books from Norway.

Those of you who understand Norwegian can read her interview in full here.

Other translators interviewed in the Translator of the Month series.