BOOK SA has received the news that Luke Stubbs has passed away, in Cape Town, about an hour ago. He died of cancer. It was considered by someone who was at his bedside regularly in the past few weeks to have been a mercy, as his suffering was very great towards the end, although his final moments were peaceful.
BOOK SA extends sympathy and condolences to his wife Helen Brain and his family members and friends. We remember him as he was in March, when he received the English Academy Award for translation:
A beautiful and touching ceremony held in Cape Town last night saw translator Luke Stubbs receive an award from the English Academy for exceptional services to South African literature.
Stubbs, who has translated Eben Venter’s Ek stamel, ek sterwe (My Beautiful Death) and more recently, Horrelpoot (Trencherman), is fighting cancer, as his wife, writer and storyteller, Helen Brain records in her insightfully written and darkly funny blog.
Eben Venter himself was on hand, and paid tribute to Stubbs, saying that he must be tired of hearing everyone say how shy and humble he is. Venter experienced a different side of him when working intimately night after night in Prince Albert. “I got to see his dry humour and the wicked comments he’d make. About my protagonist, Marlow, he said, ‘This guy needs to get a life!’” Venter praised Stubbs’ integrity as a translator, remembering occasions when he’d have opted for a “more elegant” phrase. “Luke pulled me back to the original text. In the end, the translation captured my way of phrasing.”
Rest in peace, Luke Stubbs.