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What Is the Relationship Between Truth, Memory and Fiction?

Claudia Durastanti and Jessica Andrews

What Is the Relationship Between Truth, Memory and Fiction?

Claudia Durastanti and Jessica Andrews

L: Claudia Durastanti (photo: Sarah Lucas Agutol) / R: Jessica Andrews (photo: Seth Hamilton)

Writer and literary translator Claudia Durastanti discusses her unique
blend of novel and memoir, Strangers I Know, with novelist Jessica
Andrews. In a wide-ranging conversation they talk about working as a
writer and translator, searching for shared experiences and
commonalities, the representation of disability, the portrayal of class and
much more.

Presented in partnership with Bristol Ideas as part of a year-round series of
conversations with novelists.


Strangers I Know is a work of fiction, a portrait of an unconventional family, and examines how language can shape our understanding of ourselves. Published by Fitzcarraldo. Buy a copy here.


Elizabeth Harris is the translator of Strangers I Know. Her translations from Italian include works by Mario Rigoni Stern, Giulio Mozzi, Antonio Tabucchi and Andrea Bajani. For her various translations of Tabucchi, she has received an NEA Translation Fellowship, the Italian Prose in Translation Award and the National Translation Award for Prose.


Claudia Durastanti is a writer and literary translator. She writes for several literary supplements and is on the board of the Turin Book Fair. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Los Angeles Review of Books and The Serving Library. She is the Italian translator of Joshua Cohen, Donna Haraway and Ocean Vuong. Strangers I Know, a finalist for the Premio Strega in 2019, has been translated into 23 languages and has received a PEN Translates award.


Jessica Andrews writes fiction. Her debut novel, Saltwater, was published by Sceptre in 2019 and won the Portico Prize in 2020. Her second novel, Milk Teeth, will be published in July 2022. She writes for the Guardian, the Independent, BBC Radio 4, Stylist and ELLE magazine, among others. She was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction Futures in 2022 and nominated for the ELLE list in 2020. She co-runs the literary and arts magazine The Grapevine and co-presents the literary podcast Tender Buttons. She teaches Creative Writing at Roehampton University.