Genni Gunn

Necessary Passions – Music to Language: a translation
As an author/musician/translator, I have always been interested in the translation of poetry, a feat that requires the translator to possess an awareness of musicality in both original and target language. To musicians, music is a language, stored in the same part of the brain as the mother tongue, which in my case is Italian. Add to this a second language – English – learned before the age of seven, and also stored in the same area of the brain, and the result is three languages informing one another in the creation of an original text. This presentation will examine a personal, multi-disciplinary approach to creating a text by exploring musical forms and their transposition into language.


Genni Gunn is an author, translator, creative writing instructor and musician. She has published twelve books: three novels: Solitaria (Signature Editions), nominated for the Giller Prize 2011; Tracing Iris, made into a film titled The Riverbank; and Thrice Upon a Time, finalist for the Commonwealth Prize; two story collections: On the Road and Hungers; two poetry collections: Mating in Captivity, finalist for the Gerald Lampert Poetry Award, and Faceless; two collections of poetry in translation of Dacia Maraini’s, Devour Me Too, finalist for the John Glassco Prize and Travelling in the Gait of a Fox, finalist for the Premio Internazionale Diego Valeri; and one poetry collection of Corrado Calabrò’s Text Me. She has also written the libretto for the opera Alternate Visions, produced in Montreal in 2007, and showcased at the Opera America Conference in Vancouver, May 2013. Two of her books have been translated into various languages (including Italian). She is an inveterate traveler, and her experiences are reflected in her most recent book of travel essays, Tracks: Journeys in Time and Place (Signature Editions, 2013)