Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop
Online Event

The Extinction of Irena Rey: an evening with Jennifer Croft

Featured Speakers

Jennifer Croft & Annie Rutherford

Do you get excited by the mysteries and politics of translation? Do you like exploring the space between languages where hidden meanings and multiple truths lie? Are you a fan of novels with a good dose of sharp humour?

This is the event for you!

We're over the moon to be able to host a virtual event celebrating the arrival of The Extinction of Irena Rey, the new novel by wielder of many linguistic tools Jennifer Croft. If you're a fan of fiction translated from Polish or Argentine Spanish into English, no doubt that Jennifer's name will already be familiar as the translator of such authors as Federico Falco and Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk.

The Extinction of Irena Rey is Jennifer's debut novel and it's a perfectly irresistibe concoction of attention-grabbing mystery novel (set in a deep Polish forest) and keen exploration of language, the more-than-human and power.

Join its author as she chats to translator and host of our Women in Translation book club, Annie Rutherford about this stunningly original story.

The Book

Eight translators arrive at a house in a primeval Polish forest on the border of Belarus. It belongs to the world-renowned author Irena Rey, and they are there to translate her magnum opus, Gray Eminence. But within days of their arrival, Irena disappears without a trace. The translators, who hail from eight different countries but share the same reverence for their beloved author, begin to investigate where she may have gone while proceeding with work on her masterpiece. They explore this ancient wooded refuge with its intoxicating slime moulds and lichens and study her exotic belongings and layered texts for clues. But doing so reveals secrets -- and deceptions -- of Irena Rey's that they are utterly unprepared for. Forced to face their differences as they grow increasingly paranoid in this fever dream of isolation and obsession, soon the translators are tangled up in a web of rivalries and desire, threatening not only their work but the fate of their beloved author herself.

This hilarious, thought-provoking debut by award-winning translator and author Jennifer Croft is a brilliant examination of art, celebrity, the natural world, and the power of language. It is an unforgettable, unputdownable adventure with a small but global cast of characters shaken by the shocks of love, destruction, and creation in one of Europe's last great wildernesses.

Our Speaker

Jennifer Croft won a Guggenheim Fellowship for The Extinction of Irena Rey, and her debut Homesick won the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize, while for her translation of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights won the International Booker Prize. She is the translator of Federico Falco’s A Perfect Cemetery, Romina Paula’s August, Pedro Mairal’s The Woman from Uruguay, and Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob. She has also received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. She lives in Los Angeles.

Our Chair

Annie Rutherford is a translator, writer and project leader based in Edinburgh. She is currently programme manager for the Emerging Translator Mentorships for the National Centre for Writing, and runs Lighthouse Bookshop's Women in Translation book group.

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