Guillem Viladot's Ruth: Trans Literature and/in Translation

How does one experience things from the viewpoint of the other sex? It is this question that has led to Guillem Viladot’s creation of Ruth, the genre-defining story of a gender transition told by the protagonist through a series of letters to an anonymous friend.

We celebrated trans literature, translation, and Catalan at the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (OCCT) Research Centre with the launch of P. Louise Johnson's Catalan–English translation of Guillem Viladot's Ruth (Fum d'Estampa, 2022), published posthumously in 2000. Translator P. Louise Johnson was in conversation with Vita Dervan, poet, translator, and co-founder of the Oxford-based Oxford Anthology of Translation. The discussion was followed by a bilingual reading of Ruth and a Q&A with the audience.

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P. Louise Johnson is Reader in Catalan and Spanish at the University of Sheffield. As an academic she works on modern Catalan and Spanish literature and culture, across gender, sexuality, sport, identity formation and translation. In press is an essay on Josep Pin i Soler’s Catalan translation of Thomas More’s Utopia (1912) (forthcoming in OUP, 2022). Louise’s first full-length translation from Catalan, Llorenç Villalonga’s Andrea Víctrix, was published by Fum d’Estampa in 2021. Her interest in Guillem Viladot stems from a visit to Barcelona in the aftermath of the Sheffield floods of 2007, when she discovered Viladot’s short story anthology Orgànic in Laie.

Vita Dervan is a translator and poet from London. She is a founder of the Oxford Anthology of Translation (or OAT for short), a publication dedicated to writing in and around translation run by and for students and early career translators. She reads Portuguese and Italian at St Hugh's College, Oxford.