Broadly Speaking: Ann Goldstein and Mary Norris

Broadly Speaking: Ann Goldstein and Mary Norris

What's it like to devote your whole working life to language, as a literary translator or as an editor?

To find out, we're joined from New York by two brilliant bilingual friends, both of whom have shaped the linguistic landscape in distinctive ways. Ann Goldstein and Mary Norris met as young copy editors at the New Yorker magazine. Norris went on to become a senior copy editor, revered as the magazine's cult 'Comma Queen' grammarian and the author of two books about language, Between You & Me and Greek To Me. Meanwhile, until recently, Goldstein headed up the New Yorker's copy department and was the favourite editor of John Updike – and many others. She’s now perhaps best known as the translator of the acclaimed Italian novelist, Elena Ferrante.

In this wide-ranging conversation hosted by the Wheeler Centre’s new CEO, Caro Llewellyn, they talk about the new (and overdue) enthusiasm for reading women authors and works in translation more broadly. Plus, they discuss language, friendship and Goldstein’s translation of Ferrante’s latest novel, The Lying Life of Adults.

The Broadly Speaking series is proudly supported by Krystyna Campbell-Pretty AM and family.


Portrait of Ann Goldstein

Ann Goldstein

Ann Goldstein has translated all of Elena Ferrante’s work as well as a diverse range of authors including Alessandro Baricco, Jhumpa Lahiri and Primo Levi. She is a former editor at the New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Prize.

Portrait of Mary Norris

Mary Norris

Mary Norris is the author of Greek to Me and the New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, an account of her years in the New Yorker copy department. Originally from Cleveland, she lives in New York. Her favourite pencil used to be the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 1, but she now makes do with the Palomino Blackwing.

Portrait of Caro Llewellyn

Caro Llewellyn

Caro Llewellyn is CEO of the Wheeler Centre and the author of four works of non-fiction including the 2020 Stella Prize shortlisted memoir, Diving into Glass. She's also the former director of several large scale literary festivals, including Sydney Writers' Festival and the PEN World Voices Festival chaired by Salman Rushdie in New York.