Born in Manchester, England, Donald Nicholson-Smith translates from French and Spanish into English, specializing for many years in psychology and social criticism but more recently straying into fiction, especially noir fiction, and even poetry. His authors include Jean Piaget, Guy Debord, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, J.B. Pontalis & Jean Laplanche, Thierry Jonquet, Henri Lefebvre, and Raoul Vaneigem. He has received a variety of awards and was short-listed for the French-American Prize for his translation of Apollinaire’s Letters to Madeleine (Seagull, 2010). In 2017 he was a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize for his translation of Abdellatif Laâbi’s self-selected poems, In Praise of Defeat(Archipelago).
• Recent book translations :
He has paid particular attention to the work of Jean-Patrick Manchette, the French crime novelist who is generally thought to have revolutionized the genre in France with ten novels published in the 1970s. Four translations from this cycle have been made by Nicholson-Smith and his associate Jim Brook, and the remaining titles in the series are in preparation at New York Review Books. Manchette’s The Mad and the Bad earned him the French-American Foundation Prize for fiction (2014).
Nicholson-Smith belongs to the Translators Association of the Society of Authors (London) and the PEN America Translators’ Group (New York). He has been named Chevalier des Arts et Lettres for services to French literature in translation.