“Translating the Short Stories of Alexis Wright” Sylvie Kandé talks to Demelza Hall about Le Pacte du serpent arc-en-ciel

Demelza Hall


Collapsing the barriers between personal memory and forms of fiction, Alexis Wright’s short stories are frequently framed by what has not been resolved and cannot be recounted. This interview with French translator and postcolonial critic Sylvie Kandé discusses the depiction/translation of trauma in Wright's French short fiction volume, Le Pacte du serpent arc-en-ciel. An awareness of the dynamics underpinning Indigenous exposition and cross-cultural exchange are integral to understanding Alexis Wright’s oeuvre. In this intreview, Kandé proposes an analysis of the “writer in the text,” as both a wordsmith and a spokesperson for Indigenous silenced trauma.

Le Pacte du serpent arc-en-cielhas not been published in English under the same format, this intreview also examines the reception of Wright's work both in Australia and overseas. 



Alexis Wright; Indigenous literature; short story; translation

Full Text:



Australian Human Rights Commission. 1997. Bringing Them Home Report.

Glissant, Édouard. 1997. Poetics of Relation. transl. Betty Wing. Anne Harbor: Michigan U. Press.

Hirsch, Marianne. “The Generation of Post-Memory,” Politics Today 29, 1 (Spring 2008)

The Post-colonial Studies Reader, edited by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin. New York: Routledge.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern speak?” In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, edited by Cary Nelson & Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana Champaign, Chicago, Springfield : U. of Illinois Press,1988, p. 271-315.

Winders, James A. 1993. “‘Narratime’: Postmodern Temporality and Narrative,” Issues in Integrative Studies 11, 27-43

Wright, Alexis. 2006. Carpentaria. Artarmon: Giramondo Publishing Company (2006)

---. 2002. Le Pacte du Serpent Arc-en-ciel. Translated into French by Marc de Gouvenain and Sylvie Kandé. Arles: Actes Sud.

---. 1998. “The Chinky Apple Tree.” In Across Country: Stories from Aboriginal Australia, ed-ited by Kerry Davies, 218-223. Sydney: ABC Books.

---. 1998. “When Devils Call.” In Across Country: Stories from Aboriginal Australia, edited by Kerry Davies, 224-228. Sydney: ABC Books.


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