Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, literary translator, editor, and musician who writes and translates in English, Chinese, French, and occasionally Spanish. A French national born in Singapore, she grew up in a hybrid of cultures, and graduated from Columbia University and New York University before obtaining her PhD from Paris IV-Sorbonne. Her latest collection The Ruined Elegance (Princeton, 2016), named by Library Journal as one of its “Best Books Poetry” and “Top Fall Indie Poetry,” was a finalist for the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. My Funeral Gondola (El León/Mãnoa, 2013), her second collection, was a poetry finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her debut volume Water the Moon (2010) received a Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Other publications include a chapbook Not Meant as Poems (Green Violin, 2018) and Invisible Eye (Vif, 2015), a bilingual selection of poems released in Taiwan. Her work has been translated into Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish.
A widely published translator of contemporary Chinese poetry, Sze-Lorrain was a finalist for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Among her translations are her books of contemporary Chinese poets—Bai Hua [Wind Says, 2012], Yu Xiang [I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust, 2013], Lan Lan [Canyon in the Body, 2014], Zhang Zao [Mirror, forthcoming]—from the Jintian series at Zephyr Press; and Sea Summit (Milkweed, 2016), translations of Chinese woman poet-theater scenographer Yi Lu. She has also translated prose by Hai Zi, Bai Hua, Bei Dao, and Ma Jian, as well as a long memoir-essay by Zhang Langlang. Other work include Taiwanese poets Ling Yu’s A Tree Planted in Summer (2015) and Amang’s Chariots of Women (2016). In addition, she has translated Romanian-born French poet Ghérasim Luca, Auxeméry [Mingus, méditations, 2011], and American poet Mark Strand [Almost Invisible/Presque invisible, 2012]. Her translation of essays in Russian-American photographer Alexey Titarenko’s monograph, The City Is a Novel, was published by Damiani in 2015.
Sze-Lorrain has co/guest-edited three Mãnoa anthologies of international literature, Sky Lanterns: New Poetry from China, Formosa, and Beyond (2012), On Freedom: Spirit, Art, and State (2013), and Starry Island: New Writing from Singapore (2014), all from the University of Hawai‘i Press. With Gao Xingjian, she co-authored Silhouette/Shadow: The Cinematic Art of Gao Xingjian (Contours, 2007). A co-founding editor of Cerise Press, a tri-annual international online magazine of literature, arts and culture (2009-13), she was a corresponding editor of Mãnoa (2012-14), and has been a visiting poet/artist at several American universities and colleges. Her work has been supported by fellowships from Yaddo, Writers Omi/Ledig House, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. In 2018, she served as the inaugural writer-in-residence at Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires.
Currently, she works as an editor at Vif Éditions, a small independent French press in Paris. As a zheng harpist, she has performed worldwide. Her CD In One Take was released in 2010. She lives in France. www.fionasze.com